12.6 million counterfeit phones to be disconnected in Nigeria

The Nigerian government is to order operators in the country to disconnect over 12.6 million counterfeit phones, in a bid to protect consumer rights while boosting government and manufacturers’ revenues.

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) announced the disconnection plans, saying the switch-offs would be carried out using devices’ International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers, reports the Vanguard.

According to Dr. Joseph Odumodu, director general of SON, more than NGN5 billion (US$30.7 million) was spent on the importation of substandard mobile phones in Nigeria last year alone.

As at April this year, Odumodu said Nigeria has a mobile subscriber base of 126,958,904 users, of which 10 per cent – 12.6 million – use counterfeit phones.

Odumodu said switching off these counterfeit units will boost consumer rights protection, increase revenue for the government through taxes, as well as increasing revenue for genuine mobile phone manufacturers.

“As more countries switch-off counterfeit phones, the people behind this scourge will keep moving to countries that are yet to adopt this solution, hence the urgent need to address the situation,” said Odumodu.

“Brand owners have to inscribe coded identification marks on original phones to ensure traceability and proper user’s guide.”

The director general said the switch-off will have the effect of improving mobile networks in Nigeria overall.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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