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Nigeria moves to root out fake devices

Nigeria moves to root out fake devices

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has partnered with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), among other government agencies, to tackle a surge in cybercrime and fraud which officials believe is being perpetuated through fake, counterfeit and sub-standard mobile devices.

A Project Steering Committee comprising the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Federal Ministry of Communications and the NCC; as well as the Project Delivery Team (PDT) (representing the Federal Ministry of Communications, the ICRC, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the NCC) are pushing to implement a Mobile Device Management System (DMS) to address the problem.

Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu urged encouragement of local production of mobile devices as a means of tackling the menace.

Shittu said Nigeria's most popular mobile phone market, the Computer Village in Lagos, has a daily turnover of about NGN2 billion. He said if 10% of the devices being sold are fake, it means the country's formal mobile phone market is losing about NGN200 million daily.

"Substandard and fake mobile phones are a bad omen, and an economic sabotage for Nigeria. We need urgent attention to address this issue," he said.

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) added that more than 20 mobile phone brands that are being sold in Nigeria have not been approved by the NCC; it also described the fake phones as significant contributors to poor quality of service challenge that operators in Nigeria are struggling with.

Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said: "The principal objective of the DMS project is to establish a secure and comprehensive single-window solution that will enable the Commission to implement a proven solution in the Nigerian environment ... that is sustainable and demonstrate value for money in addition helping to address the various concerns that have been raised with the NCC from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), in our regular interactions on security matters as it concerns the telecommunications industry."

Sunday Dare, NCC's Executive Commissioner for Stakeholder Management, urged its members to articulate concrete responses to combat the use of telecoms platforms to commit financial frauds.

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