The Nigerian Communication Commission has confirmed the government will collect phone identification numbers from Nigerians, but said it will do so automatically without asking individuals to submit them.

This was disclosed in a statement by the spokesperson of the commission, Ikechukwu Adinde.

A new government policy reported widely Friday says the government will collate the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) to guard against theft and other illegal activities.

The plan to compile registered phones with the Centralized Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) otherwise known as Device Management System (DMS), has been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

But Nigerians have condemned the plan, citing privacy concerns. The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, kicked against the directive describing it as illegal and a violation of the constitution.

ALSO READ: Outrage as Nigerian govt seeks citizens’ phone identification numbers, IMEI

Some reports suspected citizens may be asked to submit the numbers, a potentially tedious process many also deplore.

The NCC said the IMEIs will be obtained automatically.

“The attention of the Nigerian Communications Commission has been drawn to several media publications to the effect that the Commission will require Nigerians to submit the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of their phones to it from July, 2021,” the statement said Friday.

“The reports in question have emanated from a section of the Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration recently launched by President Muhammadu Buhari and which has been uploaded on the Commission’s website,” it said.

“It is pertinent to state that the Commission is in the process of deploying a Device Management System (DMS). The DMS will essentially protect subscribers against phone theft and will identify and enable the elimination of fake devices from the networks. The system will capture IMEI automatically without any requirement for subscribers to submit same,” the statement said.

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