(From Ikenna Osuoha, NAN)
The Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) says procedural recommendations requesting persons to queue for SIM card registration is inconvenient for older people.
Sen Eze Ajoku, the President of the coalition, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday that the procedure would expose older persons to risks of infections in the face of the COVID-19 and other health challenges.
He also said many older persons would be unable to participate in the exercise due to their health condition, age and other factors associated with old age.
“It is very risky to expose older people to COVID-19 infection in the name of sim cards registration.
”Apart from being a vulnerable community, we are worst hit by COVID-19, non-communicable diseases, frailty, therefore it is unacceptable for us to stand among younger crowds to wait for registration,” he said.
He appealed to the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to review the decision considering the plight of older people.
According to him, older people have underlying health challenges which have always weighed them down, in most cases demobilising them.
He expressed optimism that the Federal Government would reconsider the policy for the sake of older people who stand at greater risk of infections.
”There are older persons that do not have means of identification like the International passport, drivers licence, National I.D, or even voter’s cards.
“These are things they were not exposed to and most of them have been living their lives in the villages and are still there.
”Their major means of communication right now is their mobile phones, that is what they use in communicating with their children, grandchildren and friends that are still alive.
”This is not forgetting the people that are hospitalised and challenged in one form or the other. The time frame does not give room for their inclusion,” he said.
Ajoku advised the government to devise other ways of making older people and other vulnerable groups to register their SIM cards.
He counselled against physical registration, saying technology should be deployed to achieve the objective.
Ajoku suggested that each service provider should provide a desk dedicated to registration of older persons and all vulnerable persons.
“They should evolve a methodology that would put into consideration the plight of older persons and all vulnerable groups in dealing with SIM registration,” he said.
NAN reports that the Nigerian Communications Commission had directed that all telecom operators must ensure that all their subscribers provide valid National Identification Number to update SIM registration records before Dec 30.