Federal government has unveiled Device Management System (DMS) – a new security measure that will help tackle the increasing rate of mobile phone theft in Nigeria.
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; Dr Isa Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy; Prof. Adeolu Akande, chairman of the NCC, and Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the NCC.
According to the 45-page policy document, the DMS will serve as a database for sharing information on stolen devices across all networks.
It 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.
Setting an implementation window of three months, President Buhari objective is 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 also 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 and as a result, such devices will not work even if different SIM cards are inserted.