By Juliet Umeh, Lagos
GSM users, whose lines have been deactivated over non-linkage of NIN and SIM, are already lamenting the frustrations of not being able to make calls again, saying the Federal Government should have allowed people to do the linking at their pace, while it develops a verifiable database.
This is just as telecom operators, on the platform of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, has promised total compliance to the Federal Government’s directive.
The federal government had, on Monday, directed all Telcos should restrict unlinked SIMs from making calls as the deadline for NIN-SIM linkage ended on March 31, after postponing it many times.
As a reminder, the Federal Government on Thursday directed Nigerians to ensure they completed the verification and linkage of their NINs to their SIMs within days.
- FG extends NIN-SIM verification to March 31, as enrolments exceed 71m
- Sim/NIN linkage deadline: FG offers lifeline to non-compliant subscribers
- Over 120m mobile subscribers risk disconnection, as NIN-SIM integration ends today
In a statement by Chairman and Head of Operations, ALTON, Engr Gbenga Adebayo and Gbolahan Awonuga, respectively, said: “We can confirm that our members have received a formal directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, to bar outgoing calls on subscriber lines that are not in compliance with the NIN-SIM Linkage policy requirement.
“Our members are committed to complying with the instructions and call on telecommunication subscribers, who have not obtained or linked their NIN to their SIMs, to do so at any of the designated centres.”
119m lines at risk
About 119 million lines run the risk of being deactivated. Available statistics from NCC in February showed that there are 303,636,267 connected GSM mobile lines in the country, out of which 197,768,482 were active.
Meanwhile, of 197.7 million active subscribers, 78 million had so far been linked. A simple mathematics will show that about 119 subscribers are yet to link.
Meanwhile, a lot of Nigerians who are yet to comply with the directive and had been barred from making calls are lamenting.
A youth corps member, Elizabeth Ushie, told Vanguard that she had not been able to make calls with her Airtel line since Monday night.
She said: “I will go and link the line before the end of the week because some people know me with that line. However, it’s not my major line.”
Another subscriber, who identified herself as Esther, said: “I have not been able to make calls with my Airtel since morning.”
Others have also taken to their social media to express their displeasure over the barring of their communication lines by telecommunication network providers in Nigeria.
Chidozie Uchenna, said on Twitter, “Please my SIM has been blocked and I can’t make calls for now.”
Another Twitter user and MTN subscriber, @julianna, questioned the loyalty of telcos to their subscribers as they quickly complied with the government’s directive without even a dint of hesitation.
The user said: “All these operators are always slow in everything until it’s time to start blocking lines because of NIN-SIM linkage.
“They could not even exercise patients with their client.
“Okay, I will see who will suffer loss, because when you block people’s lines, they will not need to buy your airtime.
“So who is losing out at the end because I can still receive calls from people?”