The House of Representatives on Wednesday called on Federal Government to extend the deadline for the update of the SIM registration from 30th December 30, 2020, to 28th February 2021.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance on the Need for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to give Nigerians reasonable time to submit their National Identification Number (NIN) for SIM registration,’ sponsored by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.
While applauding the rationale behind the policy, the lawmaker, however, argued that the two weeks given by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) was grossly inadequate.
In his lead debate, Hon. Elumelu who maintained that the timing was very wrong because Nigerians have not been properly sensitized, called for the House intervention.
He said: “The House further note that in January 2020 the minister of communications and digital economy issued a statement wherein telecom subscribers were mandated to get their National Identity Numbers (NIN) and submit to the network operators, with the aim of ascertaining the true identities of all subscribers and thereby blocking loopholes currently being exploited by unscrupulous individuals.
“The House is aware that at a stakeholder meeting convened on the 15th December 2020 by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Patami, the federal government issued a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs NCC Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, wherein it stated that any telecom subscriber who fails to submit his /her National Identity Number to its network provider would be blocked from the network with effect from December 31st 2020.
“The House is concerned that as laudable as the idea behind the policy may seem, the timing is very wrong because Nigerians have not been properly sensitized, as only a few educated persons who bother to read the dailies might have heard about this instructions, therefore trying to enforce this policy in a period where most Nigerians are gearing up
for Christmas festivities may lead to stampede in the process of rushing to get registered which could lead to unnecessary death and injuries.
“The House is further Concerned that if the NCC is allowed to cany out this directives, it will bring about untold hardship as millions of subscribers will be disconnected this yuletide period which could spell disaster in an already volatile nation like ours.
“The House is worried that if the NCC is not urgently called to halt their plans there may be unnecessary panic in the country which may lead to exploitation of vulnerable Nigerian thereby causing more pains in an already pathetic situation hence the need to urgently wade into this impending crisis,” he urged.
In his brief remarks, Chairman, House Committee on Communication, Hon. Akeem Adeyemi who supported the motion, expressed optimism that the extension of time will also afford the Commission the opportunity to educate Nigerians on the reasons for the exercise as all mobile numbers will now be linked to the NIN of Nigerians, making it easy to track those involved in criminal activities using their phone numbers.
To this end, the House mandated its Committee on Communications to ensure compliance with the resolution.