The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently gave telecommunications companies 14 days to block SIM cards not registered with the national identity number (NIN). This is based on the outcome of a meeting of key stakeholders in the communications industry as convened by Isa Ali Pantami, the minister of communications and digital economy. Daily Trust Saturday sought the opinions of some Nigerians.
Mustafa Usman Madaki, 24, student, Kaduna
I think the government should direct all network providers to send links to their subscribers so that this thing can be done online to avoid long queues at the centres.
Murtala Umar Danbuzu, 33, Gombe
This is a great initiative by the government and it is a necessary action on their part. We hope that it will curtail the rate of crime committed by some ruthless people in the name of kidnapping for ransom. I believe only people with sinister motives will be using unregistered SIM cards or oppose any move that will make it easier for our security agencies to track those perpetrating criminal acts using mobile phones.
Aniekan David, 26, Businesswoman, Bayelsa
I support the government’s move in solving insecurity challenges, but they should give citizens ample time to get their SIMs linked up with NIN. I heard the National Assembly had advised that the time frame be extended to help people meet the dateline. This will be better for Nigerians.
Again, my fear is that we have done this type of thing before. Has it yielded results in the past? Organized crime like kidnappings have become order of the day in Nigeria and, funny enough, it is the phones that are always used for communication. What have security agencies done about it? However, I have faith in government and I believe one day it will be good.
Aliyu Sa’id Tahir, 25, student, Jema’a LGA Kaduna
The truth of the matter is most of the kidnappers are wise enough to use the mobile phones of their victims until ransom is paid. Registration of SIM will help but our security operatives should have a special team trained on rescue missions using modern technology.
Zainab Usman, 25, student, Kaduna
We all know that Nigerians use NINS very well for documentation, especially in banks. Having our phone numbers linked with that is another opportunity to reduce stress in some aspect.
Musa Audu, 35, Civil Servant, Gombe
I welcome this wonderful decision by the government in order to reduce kidnapping and other security challenges facing our dear country. The use of unregistered SIM cards by criminal has significantly contributed to the difficulties faced in tracing them within a short period of time.
Imrana Sulaiman, 29, Journalist, Gombe
It is a welcome idea, but I think the window period is too tight considering the number of the Nigerian population who use mobile phones. Also, the directive to suspend new SIM registration may frustrate telephone users who have genuine reasons to register a new SIM card for their legitimate businesses.
Samuel Willie, 22, Student, Bayelsa
If linking SIMs to NINs will help fight insecurity in the country, I welcome the idea. Before now, they came out with BVN, and we registered SIMs. What result has it yielded? Government should sit down and proffer better ways to fight crime and not subject ordinary citizens to stress. Considering the population of phone users and the deadline, it may not yield a positive result.
Firdausi Muhammad Hassan, 27, Journalist, Gombe
I am in support of the federal government’s directive for people to update their SIM cards with their National Identification Numbers (NINs) because a lot of criminals are using unregistered SIM cards to commit crime. The government has to put more effort in identifying SIM cards that are not registered so that criminal activities will be easily detected by security agencies.
Comrade Derek Christopher, 36, Nurse, Kaura, Kaduna State
This Directive is in itself commendable. If strictly adhered to by both customers and service providers, it would go a long way in reducing criminality such as kidnapping and armed robbery, and it will bring calm and some degree of security to Nigeria. Security agents will easily trace crime scenes, but the Minister needs to do more in the area of sensitization so as to encourage more people to participate.
Lewis Dudafa, 35, Pastor, Bayelsa
Such directive is harsh on the people and it is not necessary. There are other ways government could check insecurity and not necessarily linking SIMs to NINs or blocking peoples’ numbers. They should rather do it gradually and not give a time limit to it. The directive is autocratic.
Friday Jonah, 35, Businessman, Bayelsa
The directive is sudden considering an environment like Bayelsa where people find it difficult linking up to urban centres. How will they manage to beat the deadline? Is linking SIMs to NINs the only way to fight crime? I think the government lacks knowledge of how to combat insecurity.