SIM: Minor disqualification constitutional, says NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission says that it is not disqualifying Nigerians from getting the Subscriber Identity Module, adding that the age limit is in line with the constitutional provision.

The commission said this in a statement titled ‘NCC not disqualifying nigerians from getting SIM’ and signed by NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde on Wednesday.

NCC argued that the age limit proposed in its draft regulation was based on the constitution, which makes 18 years the age of consent in the country.

It added that acquiring a SIM required the subscriber to be of legal status involving a contract between service providers and subscribers.

It said, “The age of 18 years for SIM acquisition proposed in the draft regulation is contingent on the constitutional provision, which makes 18 years the age of consent in Nigeria.

“Also, SIM acquisition is a contract between service providers and their subscribers, which requires the subscriber to have proper legal status, be of matured mind and rational enough to bear certain responsibilities, obligations and liabilities imposed by a contract.”

It added that the age limit proposal in the draft regulation was designed to protect minors, stating that the parents and guardians of those below the age of 18 could acquire SIMs on their behalf.

It said, “The proposal is, therefore, to protect minors. Parents and guardians can acquire SIMs in their names on behalf of their children and wards in which case they assume whatever responsibilities or liabilities arise from the usage of such SIMs, a measure expected to also strengthen national security.

“While the commission is progressively pursuing digital inclusion for all, the draft proposal is intended to guarantee increased monitoring of children and shield the minors from undue liabilities in line with NCC’s Child Online Protection drive.”

The NCC said a consultative engagement process was still ongoing, adding that it would consider and deliberate on all comments before issuing a final regulatory instrument.

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