Call me ignorant but I just stumbled across the phenomenon called “sim card registration”. The bulk of the gist is to get a working sim in Nigeria from Aug 1st you will have to register and provide your bio metric information and all that. Why? Apparently cellphones are now used as a tool to commit crime so they (the government aka NCC) want to be able to tie all phone lines to particular individuals.
So what does it take to register your sim card? According to the MTN website you would need to,
1. Visit ant MTN Center, Connect store or registration point.
2. fill out required details including name, surname, date of birth, address etc
3. have your THUMBPRINT and passport photo taken
4. and then wait for 72 hours for your sim to be registered
If you insert your sim into a new phone you will have to re-register it again (yes no more sim swapping guys).
It is really surprising that such restrictive regulations would be forced on an industry that has led growth in Nigeria over the last decade all in an attempt to stay ahead of the kidnappers. Its symptomatic of the kind of short sighted policies that governments adopt even though Nigeria is not alone on this one. Any kidnapper worth his weight probably already knows how to beat this system (Hint: It involves a stolen phone and a dead body). On the other hand this policy will most like kill the growth of communication especially in the rural areas which need it the most. Nobody is going to set up a high-tech bio-metric capture facility to sell sim cards in Bokkos and you must be really dedicated to travel all the way to Jos just to get a sim card registered.
Those t-mobile roaming charges just became a bit more logical.