A telecommunications expert in Owerri, the Imo capital, Mr Charles Okeke, has advised the Federal Government to remove the restrictions placed on SIM card registration.

Okeke gave the advice at a news briefing on Tuesday while speaking on the effects of the federal government’s SIM Card-National Identification Number (NIN) linkage policy on service providers in the country.

He urged the government to embrace a more robust system that would encourage healthy partnership between the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and service providers to ensure a seamless linkage.

He said that the partnership would fast-track the process and alleviate the “unnecessary hardship” faced by Nigerians due to tight deadlines for the exercise.

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He further said that large crowds of people struggling for attention at NIMC offices nationwide defied the COVID-19 protocols, hence the need to decentralise the process.

Okeke, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Tshabron Group, said that telecommunication firms were facing hard times with lots of complaints from subscribers due to the delay in the process.

He regretted that the entire exercise had made it impossible to register new SIM cards and welcome back lost or damaged ones.
“The current challenges escalate the cost of running business.

“No customer gets service because of NIN linkage and the enrollment process is dull because the NIMC platform is overworked.

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“Recently, we engaged security operatives in order to keep peace and security within our space. “It pains when we are not able to resolve customers’ issues and some customers lack understanding.

“We, therefore, call on the government to allow normal operations and customer services to go on simultaneously with NIN enrollment and SIM card linkage.

“This will help to ease the tension on telecommunication businesses,” Okeke said.

He said that telecommunication outfits in the country had the capacity to handle the data of cellphone users without compromising security.

He opined that a healthy partnership between service providers and NIMC would help to ease the process of enrollment and eliminate the crowd at all the commission’s offices nationwide.

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According to him, MTN, through its many affiliates connect and enterprise partners, “has the capacity to assist NIMC in seamlessly handling the data of mobile phone users in Nigeria for better results”.