The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), yesterday in Abuja, issued stern warning to all telecom operators, SIM card vendors, retailers and the general public over the sale or use of pre-registered new SIM cards in the network.
In a statement in Abuja, NCC's head, Media and Public Relations, Reuben Muoka, said the act of selling pre-registered new SIM cards to the members of the public, by vendors or retailers, and use of such cards by anybody whatsoever, contravenes the regulation on registration of phone subscribers.
He said such person or persons shall be liable on conviction to a fine, or imprisonment, or both, in line with the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 .
He said the commission will also hold network service providers liable when such cards are found to be in use as they are expected to ensure that new SIM cards are not pre-registered before they are sold to members of the public through their various channels.
Mr Muoka said the commission's prescription in the process of the current on-going SIM card registration exercise in the country, presupposes that all newly purchased SIM cards can only receive calls while the buyers are expected to go to their particular network provider of that SIM to register his or her own SIM Card before such numbers can be used to make calls.
He said those found to be involved in this illegality will face arrest, detention, investigation, prosecution and sanction in line with the provisions of the Communications Act.
He also warned the public to desist from buying pre-registered SIM cards as they will also be liable if such line is in any way connected to any crime or misuse.
"Members of the public are advised to go to their operators to register their new SIM cards. Do not be tempted to buy pre-registered new SIM cards when the registration is free", he said.