From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The Association of SIM Registration Agents Of Nigeria (ASAN), Ogun State chapter, has appealed to the federal government to rescind its decision on the ban placed on SIM registration for Nigerians as a result of National Identity Number (NIN).
The Chairman of ASAN in the state, Mutiu Aileru, who disclosed that no fewer than 7 million of his members had been thrown out of jobs nationwide, made the appeal while briefing newsmen on Thursday Abeokuta.
The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) had in December last year, announced the suspension of registration of new SIM cards to allow for linkage of individual lines to NIN.
But Aileru during the press briefing, declared that the NCC’s directive had led to loss source of incomes for his members.
He said linking of SIM cards with NIN was long overdue, calling for review of the policy to allow Nigerians with NIN number to enjoy SIM registration services, which according to him include upgrade of 2G and 3G to 4G for faster internet speed among others.
He added that the policy is applaudable in the face of rising insecurity across the country, but noted that it has led to loss of income for the agents and government.
Aileru further stated that the suspension directive has affected the daily survival of the SIM registration agents, noting many of them were beginning to sell off personal belongings to feed their family members.
He, however, demanded for more NIN registration centres across the country to ease the stress of Nigerians in registering for their NIN numbers.
‘The policy of suspending the registration of new SIM cards by NCC to allow for the linkages of NIN with individual’s SIM card is a policy that is long overdue and as a body, we agree that it is a good policy in the face of the rising insecurity ravaging our dear country.
‘The policy, however, has so many multiplier effects on those of us actively employed by SIM Registration Services since it’s our own major source of livelihood.
‘As at today, it is a pity that some of our members are beginning to sell off personal belongings to have daily bread, some are in the hospital because of debts that could have been easily paid while the families of some of our members are currently separated since the man of the house can no longer put food on the table.
‘TV sets, phones, and even cars have been sold at giveaway prices because the income from SIM registration has been cut off.
‘It is on record that, over 7 million of our members across the country have been rendered jobless by the NCC’s decision to suspend SIM Card Registration, forgetting that it is our means of survival.
‘POS machine operators are also lamenting their inability to expand their businesses, since every POS machine makes use of SIM cards before it can function well.
‘As an association, we believe that since some Nigerians already have their NIN, they should be allowed to carry out SIM registration services and that forms the basis of our demand which is to restore SIM registration services,’ Aileru submitted.