The Renewed Effort Is Just Another Merry-Go-Round
Clearly, the good people of Nigeria are not convinced that the federal ministry of communications can successfully complete the SIM-NIN registration it started in December 2020. Obviously, there is no doubt that the renewed effort at completing the SIM-NIN registration announced last week by the federal ministry of communications is just another merry-go-round meant to hoodwink Nigerians that they are serious about the exercise. The renewed effort where the federal ministry of communications gave a deadline of 31st March for all SIMs to be linked to NIN is borne out of pressure from well-spirited Nigerians on the use of mobile phones by bandits to kidnap, negotiate ransom payment and sometimes kill innocent people.
Moreover, a son of the Minister of communications was kidnapped in Bauchi recently but released within few hours. That incident may have woken up the federal ministry of communications from their sleep on the SIM-NIN registration.
There is no doubt that the renewed effort by the federal ministry of communications is all but a ploy to buy sympathy and double – down on another round of games against Nigerians.
On 8/8/2021, I wrote and shared an article on this subject titled : Failure Of The SIM-NIN Policy And The Use Of Mobile Phones By Kidnappers To Negotiate Ransom Payment
In that and a few other articles I wrote on the use of mobile phones by kidnappers, I tried much as i can, to expose the danger associated with allowing kidnappers the free use of mobile phones to negotiate ransom payment.
The federal ministry of communications has started blocking some lines not connected to NIN but I am doubly sure that this is only an eye-service decoy meant to deceive the unsuspecting members of the public. The ministry of communications cannot sustain the effort. After few months, they will abandon it as they have done previously. By then, they would have bought some sympathy from the public that ‘they are working’ then it will be very close to the 2023 elections and they will abandon it.
My pessimism about the renewed SIM-NIN effort stems from the following:
- The policy was launched by the federal ministry of communications in December 2020 and 16 months on, they have not been able to complete it. A policy that should ordinarily take between 2-3 months is now taking eternity. Simply block any unregistered SIM and ask the subscriber to link it to their NIN before it is unblocked. Period!
- The federal ministry of communications keeps churning out fake, unreliable and concocted figures of the number of people who linked their SIM to their NIN.
- The federal ministry of communications extended the SIM-NIN registration 9 TIMES since its introduction in December 2020. This is a clear that they are not serious at concluding the policy in time to save innocent lives from kidnappers
- The federal ministry of communications is scared stiff about stepping on the toes of the telecommunications companies (TelCos) whose profit margin will be adversely affected by blockage of unregistered SIM cards.
- While all these were happening, kidnappers were busy having a field day and using unregistered SIM cards to negotiate ransom payment.
- One can buy as many as 1,000 unregistered SIM cards on the street. No effort to block unregistered SIM cards except recently.
The fact remains that Nigeria is the only country on planet earth where kidnappers are allowed free use of mobile phones to negotiate ransom payment and/or kill innocent citizens. The reason for this is not far-fetched: the current helmsmen at the ministry of communications have no expertise in communications technology. They don’t know what to do.
They lack the requisite knowledge in ICT and also fall short of the patriotic zeal to deploy communications technology to assist the security agencies decimate these bandits.
After the gun, the next most lethal weapon of the kidnapper is the mobile phone. Without a mobile phone, the kidnapper cannot operate as he has no means of negotiating and collecting ransom. It is simply incomprehensible that Nigeria with all its resources, cannot use technology to tackle insecurity.
DR ABUBAKAR ALKALI
Convener, Movement for a New Nigeria (MNN)