By WALTER UKAEGBU, Abuja
All is presently not well with all unregistered registration agents of communication SIM cards in Abuja as the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has commenced the arrest and prosecution of those who engage on the business without the express approval of the communication companies.
Last week the NCC through the Assistant Director, Enforcement, Mr Salisu Abdul, disclosed that the commission would do away with illegal SIM card registration agents and would give a new directive to communication companies on how to register SIM cards.
The director who had stormed the Wuse Market, Abuja, and arrested some of the culprits refused to disclose the identity of those arrested. He told the Daily Sun that the suspects would be handed over to the police while investigation would commence. He added that at the end of the investigation the commission would take action against offenders at the Federal High Court.
When the NCC enforcement officials embarked on the exercise before now, many unregistered SIM cards were impounded but they were alarmed that these unrepentant elements went back to business.
Before they went to the shop which they sealed at Wuse Market, the enforcement team had tried to locate the shops but were not so successful until they decided to buy unregistered cards indiscriminately and were surprised to discover that most of these cards were registered when tested.
They at that moment seized SIM cards belonging to all the major communication SIM cards.
As a result of this development, Abdul explained that the commission issued a notice/directive to all communication companies to do away with unregistered registration agents that were doing business registration on the streets at Abuja and other parts of the federation.
He disclosed that the enforcement team issued notice to all operators that NCC has the intention of wiping away all these fake registration agents while at the end of the day directives would be given to that effect.
In addition, the NCC put in place a measure where whoever buys or sells unregistered SIM card would be arrested and prosecuted. The communication regulation body has been trying to ensure that all SIM cards were duly registered, but there has been reports that people were registering SIM cards and selling them to the general public.
NCC had explained that there were dangers doing that because it compromises national security. The organization said it has gotten reports of this development in so many locations in Abuja and other parts of the country.
Investigations revealed that at Utako, Abuja, all the street unregistered registration points disappeared on hearing about the raid by the NCC at the Wuse Market. Mr. Benjamin Idoko explained that some SIM registration owners were arrested early Thursday morning when a team of NCC enforcement officials raided the area.
Also at Utako Market bordering the luxurious bus stop terminal, SIM registration officials that usually operate along the street have disappeared to tin air. Mrs. Uzoamaka Okafor who sells recharge cards in a kiosk in the area told Daily Sun that SIM card registration agents on hearing that NCC were after unregistered SIM registration agents took off to avoid arrest.
However, a dealer on communication products had a field day as his office was flooded with people registering their SIM cards. The story was also the same at another registered registration outlet with office at the Deo-Gratias Plaza. Business was going on smoothly as workers had a couple of customers to attend to.
But at the Area 1 shopping centre the story was different. as Mallam Shehu Idris said the area was raided by security men who arrested SIM card registration agents along the road.