FG unveils policy to tackle phone theft - THE GUARDIAN
By Adeyemi Adepetun
As part of new security measures in the country, especially crimes associated with mobile phones, the Federal Government has put in place a new policy to tackle phone theft crimes in the country.
Tagged Device Management System (DMS), which will be managed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the strategy will serve as a repository for all registered mobile phones’ International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and owners of such devices in the country.
The IMEI is a 15-digit unique number for mobile devices that identifies each mobile device and its model specification. It can be used in the tracking of stolen phones.
This new development is contained in the revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card registration recently unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari; Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami; Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Adeolu Akande and the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta.
According to the 45-page document, sighted by The Guardian yesterday, the DMS will serve as a database for sharing information on stolen devices across all networks.
The 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. Also, registered mobile phone technicians will 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.
The Federal Government explained further that this would help to curtail the counterfeit mobile phone market, discourage mobile phone theft, enhance National Security, protect consumer interest, increase
revenue generation for the government, reduce the rate of kidnapping, mitigate the use of stolen phones for crime and facilitate blocking or tracing of stolen mobile phones and other smart devices.
While President Buhari has directed that the DMS should be implemented within three months, the objectives of the new policy are to register and capture the IMEIs of all mobile phones and other smart devices on the DMS, which will serve as a repository for sharing data of stolen devices across all networks. It is to ensure all un-registered devices do not work in any of the networks in Nigeria, ensure every reported IMEIs for stolen and illegal mobile phones and other smart devices are blacklisted and shared with all operators across all networks, mitigate mobile phone theft and protect Nigerians from been attacked to snatch their mobile phones and other smart devices and blacklist and render all stolen mobile phones and other smart devices valueless in the Nigerian Mobile Phones Market.
Other objectives include easing the use of mobile phones and other smart devices in all public places without fear of been attacked by mobile phone snatchers, facilitating the use of digital technology solutions to address key issues bothering Nigerians in the telecommunication sector and facilitating the implementation of DMS following best global practices.
The workings of this directive will ensure that IMEIs of mobile phones that have been reported as either stolen or illegal are shared through the DMS to all MTN, Globacom, Airtel, 9mobile and other network operators.
This is expected to ensure that such devices do not work even if different SIM cards are inserted.