The Federal Government is to meet key industry stakeholders and telecommunications operators on Tuesday, April 6 to deliberate on the recent court judgement that prevents it from disconnecting SIM cards not connected with National Identity Numbers. The Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the Federal Government to put a hold on its decision to block SIM cards not connected to NIN.
Monday Ubani, National former second Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association and human rights lawyer said the Federal Ministry of Communications, Digital Economy, and the telecommunications operators confirmed that the government was making all possible effort to ensure progress with the NIN enrollment. More so the meeting will be held before the April 6 deadline to consider the recent court order banning the Federal Government from blocking SIM card not yet connected by the said date.
The second vice-president, who filed a motion at the Federal High Court, demanded that the Nigerian Communications Commission be restrained from disconnecting all SIM cards that are not connected to NINs.
Meanwhile officials of the NCC, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy with the first to fourth defendants said the issues will be addressed in the meeting scheduled to come up before the April 6 deadline.
Ikechukwu Nnamani, President, Association of Telecommunications Companies stated that the Communications Minister would make public the decision of government on the April 6 deadline soon.
Nnamani said, “The minister of Communication will make a determination on it before it gets close to the time. There will be an implementation review meeting just before the due date to ascertain if it is necessary to extend the time.”
More so he encouraged everyone to go and get their NIN registration done and not assume it will be extended. Nnamani also said the federal government has declared since December 30, 2020 that all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked but was later extended to January 30, 2020 following a widespread opposition against the earlier statement which resulted in the FG giving a three-week extension for subscribers who are yet to get NIN to January 19, 2021.
However, owing to the large number of people who are yet to receive their NINs, several organizations have called for a further extension or a complete suspension of the NIN registration process while government had listened to the deadline extension request on February 2, 2021, which it pushed to April 6.