Nigerians blast NCC, Minister over SIM Card registration directive
By GFDNews correspondents
The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami are under fire from Nigerians over the directive that mobile phone users should update their SIM Card with the valid National Identification Number (NIN) before the end of 2020 after which their SIM would be blocked.
Many Nigerian considered the directive as obnoxious and lack in good understanding of the working of the system, considering the short period within which subscribers are expected to comply with the directive that coincides with the festive period.
Shina Badaru, a publisher of a technology online news platform said the directive by the telecoms industry regulator lacks critical thinking on the part of those who are behind the directive.
“From this morning, Nigerians will besiege phone customer centres to update their NIN. Others will overwhelm NIMC to get their NIN.
“The crowds will be in combo seasons of pandemic and yuletide! Even if the Minister who ordered this cannot think; what happened to everyone else around him?,” Badaru wrote on his social media platform.
Richard Akinola, lawyer and journalist condemned both the minister and the NCC, saying “to give a two-week deadline, in a country that has over 50 million active lines, is a very silly directive.”
Though he expressed his support for the inclusion of the NIN in the registration of mobile telephone users’ database “for security purposes, particularly with the upsurge of kidnappings and ransom demands using the phone to negotiate ransom,” he prefers that the regulator allow about six months grace for the exercise.
“On a normal day, the telcos outlets are like markets, for people coming with different complaints and undertaking their welcome back packages.
“To now give a two-week deadline at a period many people are traveling, is not well thought out. With the upsurge of Covid-19 infections in the country, how would the outlets manage the crowd?
“Besides, over the past one year, we all know how it has been very difficult to obtain the NIN, which has be fraught with corrupt tendencies. I would have thought that a six-month grace like it was done in respect of BVN would have sufficed, not this fire brigade approach,” Akinola also wrote on his social media platform.
A Twitter user Chuks Akunna @akunnachux wrote’ “Don’t be deceived by this man’s (Pantami) fine boy looks. He’s worse than what the Yoruba call paramọlẹ.
“A yr has 52 weeks. Isa Patanmi wakes up & threatens to, in 2 weeks, disconnect all SIM cards not linked to NIN. He wants pple to flood NIMC offices & contract COVID-19!”
Human Rights activist and former senator, Shehu Sanni wrote on his Twitter handle:
“They capture with BVN, Capture with SIM, Capture with Card reader, Capture National ID, Capture with Drivers Licence, Capture with E-Passport, Capture with Npower, Capture with NIN, Capture with NHIS and the kidnappers are still capturing those that were captured.”
On Tuesday, the NCC directed mobile telephone operators in the country to ask their subscribers to update their database with the NIN in a bid to audit the subscriber database for SIM card users in the country.
NCC said the decision to update records of existing subscribers was taken at a stakeholders’ meeting convened on Monday by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Pantami.
Mobile phone users are given two-week to carry out the exercise otherwise their SIM card will be deactivated from the system.