SIM-NIN: Telecom Consumers Set To Take FG to Court
TELECOMMUNICATION subscribers under the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers have said they are set to drag the Federal Government to court in May to temporarily prevent the government’s barring of subscribers’ outgoing calls.
Federal authorities ordered telecom companies on Monday, April 4, to restrict outgoing calls on lines that have not yet linked their National Identification Numbers and Subscriber Identity Modules.
As a result of this, about 72.77 million active telecom subscribers were barred from making calls on their SIMs.
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In response, NATCOMS urged the Federal Government to extend SIM-NIN implementation by three months. The association also gave the government one month to implement the ban.
The President of the association, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, revealed that NATCOM was set to take the government to court by May if it fails to temporarily lift the ban.
He says the association will be joined in a suit already filed by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project against the Federal Government on the NIN-SIM policy implementation.
“We have said that if the Federal Government does not lift the ban, we would go to court. But SERAP said it had filed a document in the court. So, we are giving the government until the end of the month.
“After the expiration of our deadline for the government to reconsider its decision, we would formally go to court, along with SERAP. By the first week in May, we are joining SERAP in the court.”
Ogunbanjo pointed out that even subscribers who had linked their NIN with their SIMs prior to the directive were also blocked.
He said the directive was unfair to subscribers, adding that its implementation had affected their businesses
According to him, “The NIMC centres are jampacked. Telecom consumers are suffering. By the time they go to the centres, they have to pay between N3,000 and N10,000, depending on when the subscriber wants to get the NIN.
“This is unfortunate. Yes, the government says it is free, but these acts are open. Let security agents wear muftis and go to the NIN centres, they would see for themselves that the NIN centre officials are extorting members of the public.
The only place they are not exploiting subscribers is the telco centres, the mobile network operators. It is free there, but they are constrained as to how many subscribers they can attend to in a day”.