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NCC Rules out Extension of SIM Registration Deadline

INDICATIONS emerged Sunday that the NCC would not extend the deadline date for SIM disconnection in Nigeria. The commission had fixed Sunday, June 30 for the disconnection of unregistered SIMs in the country.

In The Guardian’s enquiry to NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Tony Ojobo, yesterday on possible extension date, Ojobo simply replied, “No extension”

Another NCC top official, who spoke to The Guardian on the condition of anonymity, said the SIM registration process has been on for the past two years, stressing that the process shouldn’t have lasted more than six months. “But, because of several pleas, it was extended. NCC seems to be very firm on its position. There won’t be any extension.”

The official said there is need to bring sanity to the system, saying, “Even the operators that are demanding for extension were very reluctant carrying out the SIM registration. NCC had to come in. When it is now time to put everything in order, they are seeking more time. I don’t think that will be possible. No extension in sight.”

This decision seems to have dashed the hope of telecommunications operators, who under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) yesterday appealed to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to extend the deadline date for Subscribers Identifications Modules (SIM) registration, which ended yesterday.

Specifically, the operators have asked the NCC for a three months extension, which to them would allow them ensure all that are supposed to register do the registration.

Specifically, the operators have asked the NCC for a three-month extension, which to them would allow them ensure all that are supposed to register do the registration.

ALTON Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo in a letter to the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, said that in the light of the security and the general logistic problems, it has been difficult for subscribers, registration agents and members of the association to meet the June 30, 2013 deadline.

ALTON members include the mobile service operators – MTN; Globacom; Etisalat; Airtel, Visafone; Starcomms; Multilinks. Other include; Internet Service Providers, among others.

Adebayo’s letter made available to The Guardian at the weekend dated June 28, 2013 reads: “We write in respect of the SIM card registration exercise and the instruction for mass disconnection of unregistered subscribers with effect from Sunday, June 30, 2013 to our members.

“We would like to draw your attention that although the SIM card registration has been ongoing for sometimes but subscribers has embraced this exercise more in the past few weeks leading to the June 30, 2013 deadline.

“Also, in the light of the security situation in the country and the general logistic problem, it has been difficult for subscribers, registration agents and members of the association to meet the June 30, 2013 deadline.

“We appreciate the effort of the commission on this process and the attendant public awareness campaign over the past few weeks and we believe that the exercise will be more successful if an extension of time is considered.

“We hereby request for a three months extension to the SIM Card Registration exercise in order for its overall exercise.

“We thank you for your kind consideration of our request and we assure you of our support and cooperation at all times, as we remain yours faithfully.”

However, on April 22 at the launch of Mobile Number Portability scheme in Lagos, the NCC’s EVC said SIM registration remains an ongoing exercise, but was emphatic that the present SIM registration exercise would end, stressing that the commission wants to collate the data formally.

The NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Tony Ojobo had on May 10 informed that every unregistered SIMs in the country would be disconnected yesterday, June 30.

Indeed, investigations revealed last minute rush of subscribers, who besieged various networks agent to complete and ensure their SIMs were registered.

An Airtel agent in Oshodi, who simply gave her name as Bimpe told The Guardian that there has been massive turnout of people in the last 72 hours.

“The last 72 hours have been very hectic. The subscribers besieged us massively for registration. I can say that we registered five times the number we do register before.

“Before, about 70 subscribers in a day, but the last 72 hours were different. I think the authorities should extend it a bit.”

Credits: The Guardian, Image:File

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