By: A.A Zubair
It can be recalled that on the 9th of December 2020, the Nigerian Communication Commission put forward a temporal ban on sim card registration, swap and upgrades. This was inline with the Federal Government directive to consolidate the sim card subscriber’s identity, thereby ensuring the linking of sim cards with the National Identification Number (NIN).
The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) has however directed the Nigerian Communications Commission to embark on another audit of telecommunication network subscriber’s database. Since then, mobile network operators have been directed to immediately suspend the sale and registration of new and existing simcards untill the audit exercise is concluded. All sims are to be linked with NIN or get blocked by the network providers.
As a result of the ban on sim card registration, many telecommunication trade partners businesses has shut down as they begin to sack their staff. Using Abuja and Nasarawa State as a case study, it can be clearly seen how lots of telecommunication trade partners shutsdown, e.g Kaima Limited, Alenssar, Golden Event and Marketing e.t.c.
However, thousands of simcard registration agents under this trade partners have been recently sacked or lost their only source of income as a result of downfall of business. These agents are left without choice to go back sourcing for a means of survival in such a period of hardship.
The network providers and Simcard registration Agents did not only have a downfall of business but also a huge customer loss. These are people who might have been struggling to cater for their family from the Sim card registration business for a very long period of time, they pay taxes, pay for office/outlet rentage, pay employed workers and as well cater for their immediate and future needs.
No doubt, the introduction of NIN linking to simcards is indeed a welcome idea to help fight insecurity, but no considerations have been made regarding those who had their sim cards lost and dearly needs a Sim swap. Considering the fact that already established and registered sim card registration outlets/offices be given a carry on permission. These kind of Customers remains in a state of comma loosing the sim card for what might cause his/her life.
Wheras Millions of Nigerian go out of job as a result of the temporal ban on sim card registration, no survival fund was either considered by the Federal Government. These agents out of joblessness might begin to think of criminal activities. Indeed! Insecurity in insecurity, as we beseech the Nigerian Communication Commission to come to the aid of sim reg agents while the system turns technically for qualified professionals.