Beginning from July, Nigerians must begin submission of their phones International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
According to the commission, this directive should be completed within three months, as contained in the revised national identity policy for SIM card registration which was released on May 11, 2021.
NCC says it will achieve this through the deployment of a device management system, DMS – a Centralised Equipment Identity Register – which will serve as a storehouse for keeping records of all registered mobile phones’ IMEI and owners of such devices and is backed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The IMEI number is a unique identification or serial number that all mobile phones and smartphones have and normally 15 digits long. The IMEI number can be found on the silver sticker on the back of your phone, under the battery pack, or on the box, your phone came in.
NCC says the move is expected 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 commission continued, “IMEIs that have been reported as either stolen or illegal will be shared through the DMS to all the operators and service providers. The purpose is to ensure that such devices do not work even if different SIM cards are inserted in those devices.
“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.”