The Nigerian Communications Commission has announced that Nigerians below the age of 18 are not permitted to own or register SIM Cards in the country. This statement was published on the Nigerian Communications Commission website in an updated draft copy of the Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations.
In this modified document, the Nigerian Communications Commission mandated telecommunications service providers to only include citizens above the age of 18.
“The term ‘subscriber’ now refers to an individual above 18 years of age, who subscribe to telecommunications services by buying a subscribing medium or being part of a subscription agreement with a licensee,” the modified draft stated.
The Licensee in that context offers communications services that use a subscription medium in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This policy implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission is backed by the Nigerian constitution. According to Section 70 in the Communications Act, 2003, the NCC has the authority to implement this rule.
The Nigerian Communications Commission also carried out a Public Inquiry on the Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations, along with the draft SIM replacement Guidelines and the draft Spectrum Trading Guidelines at the Commission’s head office in Abuja yesterday. This is in line with Section 57 of the Communications Act.
The opening speech at the event was made by the Commission’s Executive Commissioner, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu. He said:
“The public inquiry is a means through which the Nigerian Communications Commission creates and examines its regulatory policies by listening to the comments and opinions of stakeholders in the industry.”
At the public inquiry held both online and offline, major stakeholders in the industry — including MTN Nigeria — asked the Commission to reconsider the age limit. MTN Nigeria urged the NCC to reduce the age limit by four years — allowing Nigerians who are 14 years and above to own SIM Cards.
However, the Commission said it will not consider any other age limit, insisting that only individuals who are above the age of 18 can own and register SIM cards in the country.
Recall that the Nigerian Communications Commission last month disclosed that the average Nigerian child spends between three to ten hours daily in front of a screen. This announcement was made after the NCC carried out a study of how Digital Technology is affecting young children in Nigeria. According to the NCC children between the ages of four and ten and eleven and sixteen participated in the study.