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This was contained in the Revised National Identity Policy report for SIM Card Registration released by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy on Friday.
It stated that the implementation of a Centralised Equipment Identity Register (CEIR), otherwise known as Device Management System (DMS), would serve as a repository for keeping records of all registered mobile phones’ IMEIs and owners of such devices in the country.
The report noted that the deployment of DMS would serve as a means of protecting citizens from theft and generate revenue for the government, among other benefits.
“DMS aims to curtail the counterfeit mobile phone market, discourage mobile phone theft, enhance National Security, protect consumer interest, increase revenue generation for the government, reduce 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 ministry said.
The report said that the NCC would be responsible for the implementation and management of the DMS to achieve the policy objectives.
It also stated that the President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that the DMS should be implemented within three months.
This means any Nigerian who fails to comply will be unable to make calls, send text messages, or use the internet except through WiFi.
“DMS will also provide access to all operators to cross-check the IMEIs and their status before allowing a device to become active on their network. Furthermore, registered mobile phone technicians will also be provided with an interface to check IMEIs and ensure it has not been reported as stolen or illegal before they render their technical services.”
Meanwhile, Nigerians have taken to the social media to register their displeasure over the new DMS policy.
A twitter user, Ayemojubar, with the username @ayemojubar, tweeted that her IMEI was her private property which should not be invaded.
My phone, my IMEI is my private property. I bought it with my hard-earned, taxed money.
— Ayemojubar 👠 (@ayemojubar) May 21, 2021
Another Twitter user, Ochiaga, with the username @ronaldnzimora, tweeted that the new IMEI policy with the NIN would give the government the opportunity of tracking down people and probably killing anyone who disagreed with them.
“NIN + IMEI registration is a way for the Govt to track down and kill you when you disagree with them. Stop registering for it. Even if you did NIN, don’t ever do IMEI registration.”
Elder Seun, with the username @iamseunalaofin, on his own part, said with BNN, NIN and now IMEI, it was clear that the government was demanding too much, adding that government could soon start asking Nigerians to start going around with the president’s portrait.
We did NIN, we did BVN now they want us to drop our phone’s IMEI number.
Very soon they would tell us to put Buhari portrait in our homes for one reason we don’t know yet.
At this stage anyone that believes in this government needs Bigi Apple to get their senses back!! pic.twitter.com/98DlShslXe
— Elder Seun 🇳🇬 (@iamseunalaofin) May 21, 2021