Telecoms subscribers under the aegis of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers have called on the Federal Government to suspend issuing of deadlines for the National Identification Number-Subscriber Identity Module data verification exercise and adopt a continuous registration model.
This, according to the industry pressure body, will help the government to accommodate the National Identity Management Commission’s lack of capacity to host the data of telecommunication subscribers.
The President of the association, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent on Friday.
According to him, a continuous registration process will cover the various hiccups experienced by the exercise.
He said, “Unfortunately, there are so many hiccups with the SIM-NIN linkage. The NIMC lacks the capacity to do the uploads after the registration.
“I will now tell the government to let the linkage continue just like the SIM. Let them remove the deadlines, for now. Let it be a continuous one. If they don’t do that, they will make people abandon their SIMs, and make the network operators lose a lot of income on these unused SIMs.
“So, these will even get slower. Let the minister postpone the deadline until December 2022 for now. They should give us a nine-month window to ensure that NIMC puts its house in order.
“Maybe they would have capacity then. Many of the NIMC centres do not register more than 10 new subscribers in a day. And there are so many subscribers seeking to do so. Also, for about two, three weeks, it was off. So, I think the capacity should be built upon, and then let’s look at the end of the year.”
According to a source in one of the telecommunication companies in the nation, progress has not been made as regards the SIM-NIN exercise.
The source said the NIMC does not have the required infrastructure to facilitate the exercise, seamlessly.
The source said, “We disclosed in our last report that not much has happened as regards the SIM-NIN linkage because of the challenges that are still very much in place.
“Essentially, the fault is from the NIMC. The NIMC doesn’t have the infrastructure to support this exercise. Nothing has changed. The government is definitely going to extend the deadline. The agency will keep postponing the deadline to buy time.”
A source in the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria confirmed to our correspondent that while the NIMC’s servers had been fixed, it was still been experiencing frequent downtime.
This, he said, was impacting the pace of the verification exercise as telcos had to wait for hours before gaining access to the portal.
Telecommunication subscribers were stranded in February after the NIMC’s portal went down for a couple of days.
Recently, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, disclosed that NIMC was struggling with infrastructure, salary and welfare challenges, among others.