The House of Representatives has asked the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) to extend the deadline for the provision of the National Identification Number by telecommunication service subscribers to 10 weeks.
The House, at the plenary on Wednesday, described the two weeks given to SIM card users by the NCC to provide their NIN to service providers as grossly inadequate.
The Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, had moved a motion of urgent public importance to demand more time,
since the two weeks given by the NCC, falls within the festive period and was also too small for Nigeria to comply with the directives.
He said if the NCC is allowed to carry out this directive at this time of the year and within.
Adopting the motion, the House resolved that the exercise should end on January 28, 2021, as against December 30, 2020.
Elumelu said even though the exercise is laudable, 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” adding that “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.”
He expressed worries 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 informed the House that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy had in January 2020 directed telecom subscribers to get their National Identity Numbers (NIN) and submit them 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.
He said the NCC instructions were filed out based on what is happening in the country, especially considering how hoodlums used the sim cards to harass and intimidate Nigerians during the #EndSARS protests.
He said the House had summoned the NCC to find out why the SIM card registration was not concluded, directing that all sim cards should be registered, adding that the house did not envisage the time limit as recently given by the NCC.
He said that the time limit will almost be impossible to meet the deadline, adding that the motion is not condemning the action, but asking for more time for Nigerians since they will have to register with the national identity card first before approaching their service providers.
He asked the House to support the extension of time for the actualisation of the NCC directive so that those using their sim cards to carry out criminal activities can be tracked.
Chairman of the House Committee on Communication, Hon. Akeem Adeyemi said the extension of time will afford the commission the opportunity to educate Nigerians on the reasons for the exercise as all mobile numbers will not be linked to the NIN of Nigerians, making it easy to track those involved in criminal activities using their phone numbers.