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FG approves N1.8 billion for equipment to detect and block criminal SIM traffic

 Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of N1.8 billion for the deployment of regulatory systems in the Nigerian Telecommunications industry to tackle criminal activities.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, in a press briefing with State House correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Pantami stated that the system will assist the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to monitor, detect and block SIM box traffic being used for dubious or suspicious transactions.

What the Minister is saying

Pantami said that the system would fight voice traffic termination fraud and boost revenue generation by the government, citing that the use of an international number would always attract higher taxes.

“The first memo that was approved by FEC is for the deployment of regulatory systems in the telecommunications industry to be implemented by the NCC.

“The system has two components; number one is the deployment of a regulatory system to monitor, detect and block SIM box traffic. It is going to be implemented at the cost of N804.12 million by the NCC.

“This deployment is to fight what is called voice traffic termination fraud. The system will support our country in two major ways of addressing the challenges of insecurity.

“Sometimes, you will receive a call with a local number that is (dubiously) set up as an international number; sometimes, a call can come in but the number will not show.

“Sometimes, you will receive a call with a cloned number so you need to investigate further to know who actually made the call.

“So, using these systems, the NCC will be able to immediately address such criminal tendencies on behalf of the Nigerian government,” the minister said.

He added that the second component in the same memo is the deployment of a regulatory system to monitor, detect, block, and call masking traffic at the cost of N1.05 billion.

“This will enhance revenue generation by our government because the use of any international number will attract higher tax but if it appears as a local number, the government would be short-changed,” he said.

He said that the president has already approved the deployment of the systems to enhance the security of all citizens, especially mobile phone users. He also stated that President Buhari approved the distribution of 6,000 e-pad mobile devices by the NCC to tertiary institutions across the country.

“In the northern parts of the country, 2400 of such devices will be distributed; the same number for the southern parts.

“A special allocation will be made for Abuja and Lagos where both of them will share the remaining 120 units of devices,” he added.

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