By Charles Abuede
- Nigerians say decision vile, vexatious, without proper considerations
Nigerian lawmakers have waded into the currently trending issue on the directive by the National Communications commission (NCC) asking mobile telecom operators to disconnect the mobile lines not directly linked to subscribers’ national identity numbers (NIN) within two weeks, asking the regulator to extend the 31 December deadline by ten weeks.
The lawmakers in a motion moved during the plenary session by Ndudi Elumelu, the House Minority Leader, requested the NCC to allow the process to be extended by ten weeks considering the difficulties experienced by Nigerians in obtaining the NIN, because the two weeks initially given, will be too short for 200 million Nigerians to complete the process as the telecom operators will also experience difficulties in registering over 205 million active mobile numbers.
Isa Ali Pantami, the minister of communications and digital economy, had urged all Nigerians to secure digital identification from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) immediately and submit the same to their network operators, following the federal government’s directive to all mobile network operators to suspend the registrations of new SIM Cards in Nigeria owing to some illegal activities of con stars and other fraudsters, who are swindling citizens of their monies.
It also stated that the incessant rise in fraudulent and criminal activities have led to the loss of confidence of investors and also increased the rate of insecurity across the country.
Several reactions from Nigerians and other stakeholders have, however, trailed the new directive from the regulatory authority, with many of them saying the decision was ill-timed and never took into consideration the obvious consequences of time, health and other logical issues coupled with the rising cases of covid-19 numbers.
Anthony Kila, a professor of strategy and development, and also the centre director at CIAPS, in a note to Business AM said: “The recent ultimatum given by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to telecommunications operators in the country to – in two weeks – block all SIM cards that are not registered with the National Identity Numbers (NIN), is not only vile and vexatious. This is an example of a clear lack of regard for people, plans and project by power.
“Clearly someone made that decision simply because he can, with no regard for obvious consequences such as timing, health and other logistical issues. We must stop this ridiculous and annoying nonsense,” Kila said.
Ikechukwu Adinde, spokesman for the NCC, noted that after a meeting conveyed by Isa Pantami to resolve that the submission of NIN by subscribers would run from 16 to 30 of December 2020 on Monday, the federal government has further disclosed that after the deadline, all SIMs cards not linked to NINs should be blocked from the networks, while a Ministerial Task Force comprising the minister and all the CEOs, among others, as members would monitor compliance by all networks.