By Emeka Okafor
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to collect International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) from Nigerians using mobile phones with three months despite anger generated by ongoing National Identification Number (NIN).
The submission of the International Mobile Equipment Identity takes effect from July and it will end in September this year.
The President order was contained in the commission’s Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration.
With this development, the Federal Government will now be direct custody of phone numbers of all Nigerians.
The IMEI number is the mobile phone’s fingerprint. It is a 15-digit number unique to each phone.
NCC said the directive will help checkmate the worsening security as well as to prevent phone theft and other criminal activities through phones.
The policy read., “Accordingly, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has directed that the Device Management System should be implemented within three months.”
“With the aim to curtail the counterfeit mobile phone market, discourage mobile phone theft, enhance National Security, protect consumer interest, increase revenue generation for the government, reduce the rate of kidnapping, mitigate the use of stolen phones for crime, and facilitate blocking or tracing of stolen mobile phones and other smart devices, one of the means to achieve this is through the deployment of Device Management System.
“The implementation of a Centralised Equipment Identity Register otherwise known as Device Management System will serve as a repository for keeping records of all registered mobile phones’ International Mobile Equipment Identity and owners of such devices.
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“IMEIs that have been reported as either stolen or illegal will be shared through the DMS to all the operators and service providers”, the NCC further said.
With the IMEI number, a phone can be tracked and located irrespective of the cellular number in it.