The Federal Government has directed Nigerians to submit the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEIs) of their phones to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The measure will curtail the counterfeit mobile phone market, discourage phone theft, enhance national security, protect consumer interest, as well as increase revenue generation for the government.
According to the government, it will also 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.
The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is a 15-digit international identity number, used to uniquely identify and track a mobile phone.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) made the announcement on Friday in Abuja in its Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration.
It said network providers would be required to cross-check all phones IMEI and status on a proposed Centralized Equipment Identity Register (CEIR), otherwise known as Device Management System (DMS), before allowing a device to become active on their network.
NCC stated: “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.
“IMEIs that have been reported as either stolen or illegal will be shared through the DMS to all the operators and service providers.”
However, reacting to the policy, Nigerians have taken to their various social media handles to criticize the directive, with most of them vowing not to submit their IMEIs.