Suspension of Sim Card Sale/Audit of Subscriber Database: A Futile Exercise or Agony of Nigerians? - Penangle | News Portal in Nigeria
Tue. Jun 25th, 2024
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In mordern times, the importance of data cannot be overemphasized because to many, the value of data has been likened to that of an oil boom.

To give better a perspective, the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee described data as a precious thing that would surely outlive systems.

Little wonder why most developed nations begin data collection on their citizens from birth, one which that continually gets updated till death.
Taking advantage of this action born out of technological innovation not only makes it easy for a given country to have a proper record of its people or gives the country a sense of security but it also creates an atmosphere of ease for the both the government and the people.

This is why many have argued for the unification of things like the Bank Verification Number (BVN), the National Identification Number, the Driver’s license number amongst others. The general belief is that the minister of communications and digital economy , Isa Pantami shares this idea which may have informed the directive to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to impose a suspension on the sale and activation of new sim cards in the country.

Although, Minister Pantanmi’s main argument for this decision made in December of 2020, was to allow an audit of the Subscriber Registration Database which makes it easy to verify and ensure compliance by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) with the set quality standards and requirements as issued by the ministry and the NCC.

At the time of the disclosure of the order, some Nigerians begrudgingly accepted it because they felt it would also help the country in the fight against terrorism in some way and that it would not take forever before things return to normal.

However, in recent times it has become very hard for one to ignore the grievances of citizens who are now stranded as a consequence of the directive.

When the minister gave the order for the suspension of the sale and registration of new sim cards, he failed to say when the exercise would be over, and now the feeling in the public space is one of frustration especially from those who need to get new telephone or internet lines for personal and business purposes.

As these complaints have gained more decibels, well meaning citizens expected the minister to seized such opportunity to update Nigerians on the latest developments with regards to the order and then make clarifications on when such would be over but till this day like Alice, one is left to roam free with their thoughts in wonderland.

Why is there an unpleasant feel of deafening silence on an issue that affects livelihoods directly ? Or are those who imposed this suspension unaware of the impact this existing directive has on telecos, the economy and even general convenience?

Is this the new norm or are we just going with the flow? Why has the audit taken so long and do we not deserve an explanation on this issue?

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