From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has placed a restriction on anyone below the age of 18 years from registering and owning a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) in Nigeria.
The NCC made the pronouncement during the public inquiry on three regulatory instruments on the rulemaking process in Abuja on Tuesday.
The new rule is also stated on a draft copy of the modified Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations published on the commission’s website.
In the modified regulations, NCC restricted telecoms subscribers to only include anyone above the age of 18 years.
Major stakeholders, including MTN at the event, appealed to the commission to adjust the age limit.
MTN implored the commission to adjust the age limit to 14 years-old and above.
However, the NCC, insisted on 18 years old and above for anyone who wants to own and register a SIM card in Nigeria
“Subscriber’ means a person not below the age of 18 years who subscribes to communications services by purchasing a subscription medium or entering into a subscription contract with a licensee.”
The Licensee refers to ‘a provider of communications services that utilises a subscription medium in the Federal Republic of Nigeria’.
The regulations were made in line with the powers conferred upon the commission by section 70 of the Nigerian Communications Act,2003.
In accordance with Section 57 of the Act, the NCC conducted a Public Inquiry on the Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations, alongside the draft SIM Replacement Guidelines and the draft Spectrum Trading Guidelines at its head office in Abuja on Tuesday.
In his opening remarks at the event, NCC’s Executive Commissioner Stakeholders’ Management, Mr Adeleke Adewolu said, “The public inquiry is an avenue that enables the commission to develop and review its regulatory instruments by incorporating the comments and suggestions of industry stakeholders.”