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[Rivers]–The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), Professor Umar Dambatta, said that there are 150 million telephone lines in use in the country.

Dambatta disclosed this in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at a one-day retreat on sensitisation of law enforcement agencies on telecommunications.

Dambatta said that the increase in telephone users in the country had brought about employment in several sectors of the economy.

He said: “From less than half a million lines on the eve of our democratic revival, today, active connected telephone lines are about 150 million. This has come with a concomitant increase in tele-density. Expectedly, these phenomenal changes have also caused direct and indirect rise in employment generation across sectors of the economy.

“As we all can confirm, developments in other sectors of the economy have been shaped positively and measurably by the patent realities in the telecommunications.”

The Professor while lamenting on the rise in theft of telecommunication facilities in the country, urged stakeholders to join in putting a halt to same.

He said, “above and beyond cyber criminality, we have witnessed a very painful rise in the tempo of outright theft of telecommunication equipment as well as vandalism of telecommunication installations, facilities and infrastructure.

“We have also seen proliferation in the sale and usage of pre-registered Subscribers Identification Module, SIM, cards, all of which constitute nasty infractions of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, and other extant regulations governing the telecommunications sector accordingly.”

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