The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said parents and guardians of Nigerians under 18 years old can acquire Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards in their names on behalf of their children and wards.
The NCC Director of Public Affairs, Ikechukwu Adinde, in a statement on Thursday, added that such parents would then assume whatever responsibilities or liabilities that arise from the usage of such SIMs acquired for their children or wards.
This measure, he said, is expected to strengthen national security.
According to Adinde, the age of 18 years for SIM acquisition proposed in the Reviewed/Draft Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations is contingent on the constitutional provision, which makes 18 years the age of consent in Nigeria.
He explained that SIM acquisition is a contract between service providers and their subscribers, which requires the subscriber to have proper legal status, be of matured mind and be rational enough to bear certain responsibilities, obligations and liabilities imposed by a contract.
“While the Commission is progressively pursuing digital inclusion for all, the draft proposal is intended to guarantee increased monitoring of children and shield the minors from undue liabilities in line with NCC’s Child Online Protection drive,” the Commission said.
The NCC had set the minimum age of Nigerians eligible to acquire SIM cards at 18 in its draft regulation.
The Public Inquiry on the Reviewed/Draft Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations took place on October 6, 2021.
Adinde said the public inquiry was held for all relevant stakeholders to provide input on the draft regulatory instrument in accordance with sections 70 and 71 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003 and the Commission’s consultative engagement process.
He, however, said the consultative engagement process was still ongoing, as it is reviewing all input from relevant stakeholders and will consider and deliberate on all comments before issuing a final regulatory instrument.