Stakeholders seek renewal of anti-phone theft initiative

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Following the sophistication on theft of mobile phones which is the hallmark of both petty thieves and armed robbers whenever they attack innocent citizens, stakeholders in the Information Communication Technology sector have advocated for the renewal of anti-mobile phone theft initiative which was deliberated on in December 2005 at the Telecoms Parliament in the old Senate Chambers, Tafewa Balewa square, Lagos.

The President, National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, in an exclusive interview with Daily Times said he introduced the motion for anti-mobile phone theft initiative in December 2005 Telecoms parliament in the old Senate Chamber, Tafewa Balewa square, Lagos, for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to take the necessary steps as a panacea to stop the theft of mobile phones by both petty thieves and armed robbers.

Ogunbanjo stated that he introduced the anti-mobile phone theft initiative to the then Executive Vice Chairman of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Engr. (Dr.) Ernest Ndukwe and the then Executive Commissioner, Technical Standard and Engineering, NCC, Engr. Basiru Gwando, who also showed interest that it should start in Nigeria.

According to him, the then Minister of information Communication, Prof. Dora Akunyili, of blessed memory, actually launched the anti-mobile phone theft initiative at Musa – Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja,  in early  2009 because it was something that will be used by consumers each time  their phones get stolen.

“Unfortunately, ever since the launch, I expected the NCC to promote it. How does it work? It works by pressing *#06# and it will reveal your International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and with that you can take it to the network operator and then that phone will be disabled. So it will not be useful to whoever must have stolen the phone. That is something to discourage phone theft, but unfortunately, I expected the NCC to ensure that they promote it on a regular basis to subscribers to make use of the facility and to make sure that phones are kept useless to whoever that steals phones.

“I quite appreciate the fact that mobile number portability (MNP) is an NCC initiative; it’s a good thing and NCC should also take the anti-mobile phone theft initiative to the door steps of the consumers just like the mobile number portability,” he explained.

He lamented that there is a firm called Net Visa that was told to supervise it, adding that they are not promoting it and the NCC is also not promoting it to ensure that subscribers of telecom services make use of this facility.

In a telephone chat with Mr. Yinka Giwa of Net Visa, he told the Daily Times that the anti-mobile phone theft initiative actually came up in December 2005 at Tafewa Balewa square, Lagos and Net Visa was saddled with the responsibility to further it, but the project was suspended by the NCC due to lack of funds to carry on with it.

Giwa, however, revealed that Net Visa is still in operation and has been pushing for the anti-mobile phone theft initiative to be revisited and implemented for the benefit of Nigerians.

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