As part of measures aimed at enhancing National Security in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to mandates submission of the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) by all mobile phone users in the country.
Statistic from the NCC shows that there are over 198 million mobile (GSM) active lines of over 211 million citizens in Nigeria.
The president’s directive to the agency was part of the agency’s Revised National Identity Policy for SIM registration launched recently. Buhari said the instruction must be implemented within three months, approximately, end of July 2021.
The policy stated that the implementation of a Centralized Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) also known as Device Management System (DMS) would serve as a repository for keeping records of all registered mobile phones’ International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and owners of such devices.
The objectives of the government, according to the policy include, “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.”
Also, to ensure all un-registered devices do not work in any of the Networks in Nigeria and to ensure every reported IMEIs for stolen and illegal mobile phones and other smart devices are blacklisted and shared with all operators across all networks.
“IMEIs that have been reported as either stolen or illegal will be shared through the DMS to all the operators and service providers.”
The IMEI number is the mobile phone’s fingerprint. It is a 15-digit number unique to each phone. With the IMEI number, a phone can be tracked and located irrespective of the cellular number in it.