Burutai decries proliferation of unregistered SIM cards

The Chief of
Army Staff, Lt.-
Gen. Tukur
Burutai, on
Monday in Abuja
frowned at the
use of
SIM cards in the
country in spite of subsisting government
Burutai said the development was a major
setback in the use of digital and mobile
forensics by the Nigeria military in the fight
against terrorism, kidnapping and other
national threats.
The army chief spoke at the opening of the
6th International Digital, Mobile and
Computer Forensics Conference and
Training Expo organised by the Computer
Forensics Institute of Nigeria (CFIN).
In a paper edtitled, “Digital, Mobile and
Computer Forensics as a Tool in Fighting
Terrorism and Internal Threats’’, he said
military investigators were able to get
unregistered SIM cards from vendors last
week without difficulty.
Burutai, who was represented by Brig.-Gen.
Samuel Adebayo, also identified improperly
registered SIM cards in use in the country
as a challenge.
These, he noted, were making identity
tracking, especially in the case of
kidnappings, terrorism and other forms of
criminal acts in the country almost an
impossible task.
“In some instances, these SIM cards are
registered with phony names, untraceable
addresses or even unrecognisable
“For those who are involved in
investigation of those kinds of things, when
you go to the service provider, you will
discover that the data on some people is
blank; there is no face attached to it.
“In some cases, the users live in the bush or
hills, but registered the SIM cards with
addresses that don’t exist because the man
who registered them allowed such a thing
without any method of confirmation.
“So, when it comes to the analysis, you
discover that you are hitting a brick wall
because to do a link analysis becomes very
difficult or unfortunately impossible.
“I believe there is the need to raise this
issue because as at a week ago, we were
still able to get some SIM cards that are
unregistered from vendors without any
problem, and they are still working till now’’.
Burutai identified other challenges of
Digital, Mobile and Computer Forensics
to include inadequate personnel to handle
cases, and rapid advancement in evolution
of mobile phones and devices with huge
cost implications for the military.
He urged participants at the conference to
critically examine the issues and come up
with lasting solutions to the problems.
The President of CFIN, Dr Peter Olayiwola,
said the three-day conference would
provide practical solutions to the issues
raised by the Chief of Army Staff.
“The relevance of this conference to Nigeria
is expressed in its theme, which is `Digital,
Mobile and Computer Forensics: Tools for
Intelligence, Investigation and National
Security’. The three-day conference
promises to deliver just that.
“It should be borne in mind that as a result
of the tremendous increase in digital
devices today, most of the evidence needed
to convict the criminal is resident in these
“Mobile and computer forensics provide the
best form of evidence today, whether
intelligence gathering, investigation and for
national security. So, be prepared to learn,’’
Olayiwola said.
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