There is respite for telephone subscribers as the House of Representatives has called on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to extend the deadline for re-registration of SIM cards by Nigerians to 10 weeks.
Recall that the NCC had instructed telecommunications operators to block all SIM cards that are not registered with the National Identity Numbers in two weeks.
The motion was duly moved by the Minority Leader Ndudim Elumelu, representing PDP Delta, at the plenary session today.
Hon. Ndudim Elumelu expressed serious concern over the shortness of the notice period, though the idea behind the policy seems quite good, as quite a huge number of Nigerians have not been properly sensitized or even aware of this directive and many risk being blocked at the expiration of the two weeks deadline. He said:
- “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. If the NCC is allowed to carry out these 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.”
- “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 Nigerians, thereby causing more pains in an already pathetic situation; hence the need to urgently wade into this impending crisis.”
After several contributions by other members of the house, it was resolved that the NCC should give a reasonable amount of time to enable Nigerians to submit their National Identity Numbers (NIN) to their service providers and that the 2 weeks is not feasible to comply with the directive.
The House, therefore, called on NCC to extend the deadline to 10 weeks and mandated the House Committee on Communications to ensure full compliance.
What this means
- An extension by 10 weeks is good and reasonable enough as against the 2 weeks deadline for subscribers to register for their national identity cards, considering the approaching yuletides when most businesses would close down for the year.
- Considering the bureaucracies in most public sector organizations including the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), 2 weeks is too short a Peri to reasonably register subscribers and could inevitably lead to stampede and undue exploitations by the officers of the NIMC.