By Adedapo Adesanya The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said not less than 2.2 million improperly registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) Cards have been deactivated across all telecommunication networks in the country. This was disclosed by the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Mr Umar Danbatta, in a statement signed by the Commission\u2019s Director for Public Affairs, Mr Henry Nkemadu in Abuja. According to Mr Danbatta, the commission\u2019s efforts was in line with one of the key agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari to strengthen security of lives and property for all Nigerians. \u201cWe have since initiated the second phase of SIM deactivation based on the ministerial directive and as at today, we have completely deactivated the remaining 2.2 million lines on the networks. \u201cThis is contrary to reports by a section of the media, suggesting that nothing has been done with respect to the issue of improperly registered SIM cards. \u201cFollowing the September 2019 ministerial directive, however, the NCC, within a week, intensified efforts by reducing the number of improperly registered SIM cards from 9.2 million to 2.2 million,\u201d he said. The EVC said that over the years, the NCC had worked with determination and through various policy initiatives, to free mobile networks of improperly or invalidly registered SIM cards. He explained that this was to ensure that all the current 184 million registered SIM cards across Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) networks had valid data that were traceable and not anonymous. \u201cOur efforts received a boost, following the implementation of a September 12, 2019 ministerial directive that the NCC should compel service providers to block all improperly-registered SIM cards, pending when their owners regularise their registration. \u201cAs at the time the ministerial order was issued, the commission, through its Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement team, had reduced the number of improperly-registered SIM cards on mobile networks in the country to 9.2 million.\u201d He recalled that the commission had, in June 2019, commenced the second round of comprehensive verification audit of MNOs\u2019 SIM card registrations as part of the Commission\u2019s ongoing regulatory interventions. Mr Danbatta said that the regulations included the setting up of the SIM Registration Industry Task Force, which led to several resolutions including the Industry Working Group (IWG) on harmonisation of SIM registration process. He also said that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) was inclusive to ensure a clean SIM database, adding that the audit exercise was concluded in August 2019. \u201cThe audit was specifically to ensure strict adherence by telecom operators to the provisions of the Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulations 2011,\u201d he said. The EVC assured all stakeholders that the Commission would continue to aggressively pursue the national objectives of delivering an accurate database of telephone subscribers in Nigeria. He also stated that stated that the SIM data submitted to the Commission was constantly validated for higher efficiency to support the national security objectives of the SIM registration exercise through NCC\u2019s zero tolerance for deviations from the proper registration process. \u201cI also use this opportunity to restate the Commission\u2019s commitment to the periodic SIM data audit, continuous compliance monitoring exercise on the MNOs, as well as constant consumer education and engagement against using improperly-registered SIM cards. \u201cWe will be able to, collectively, address national security concerns, especially kidnappings, banditry, armed robberies, cattle rustling and other crimes associated with SIM cards across the nation. This will ensure that all SIM cards are traceable to their real owners,\u201d he added.