Some telecommunications subscribers on Wednesday expressed displeasure over the barring of their lines by telcos despite having linked their National Identification Numbers with their SIM cards.
The subscribers expressed their displeasure in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
NAN reports that telecommunications (Telcos) operators in Nigeria, including MTN, Airtel, and Globacom, among others, had been directed by their regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to implement full network barring on all phone lines which subscribers had not submitted their NINs and those without verified NINs by February 28, 2024.
The NCC said further that NINs that had been submitted but not verified, such lines were to be barred on or before March 29, 2024, the same as in cases where five or more lines are linked to an unverified NIN.
Similarly, where less than five lines are linked to an unverified NIN, such lines are to be barred on or before April 15, 2024.
In a visit by NAN in Lagos on Tuesday evening to some of the telcos customer service centres, subscribers were complaining about barred lines at all the telcos outlets, but more at the MTN outlets.
The subscribers were displeased that their lines had been barred from making calls even before the February 28 deadline.
Some of them insisted that they had already linked their NINs to their SIM cards as directed by the NCC, so they were surprised that their lines were still barred.
A businessman, Mr. Marcel Okoh, said that a message was sent to his MTN line at the weekend, which he did not take seriously because he had done his NIN-SIM linkage.
Okoh said that two days after the message was sent, he noticed that his SIM had been disconnected, and he could no longer recharge or make calls with his phone.
“The disconnection is uncalled for because I have done what is needed, and I should have been given time to make enquiries.”
Similarly, a Fashion Designer, Aisha Alao, who also uses an MTN line, said that she was disconnected by the telco without any notice.
Alao said that it was when she got to one of the MTN outlets that the agents explained to her that she needed to do a NIN-SIM linkage.
Also speaking with NAN, a retired Teacher, Mrs Veronica Maduabunechukwu, said that a disconnection notice was sent to her by Airtel despite having done her NIN-SIM linkage.
“The line has not been disconnected, and I see no reason why it should be barred.”
Another MTN subscriber, Mrs Chinenye Agbanusi, said that she had done her NIN-SIM linkage as far back as 2020.
Agbanusi said that she was not pleased with MTN for barring her line after following due process.
She added that Telco should upgrade its systems to avoid recurring issues of barring customers who had already done what was needed.
A Globacom subscriber, Miss Kanyinsola Oje, said that a notice to link her SIM to NIN to avoid disconnection was also sent to her.
She noted that some days after the notice, her line was barred.
However, during the survey, Miss Nkechi, an Agent in one of the Airtel outlets in Ketu, said that subscribers had been coming to the centre to make complaints about their SIM being disconnected.
Similarly, Olumide, a Globacom Agent in Ketu, also confirmed that subscribers had been coming to the outlet to make complaints about their lines being barred since December 2023.
According to him, most of the subscribers insisted that they had done the NIN-SIM linkage before, but were currently having issues.
Olumide said, “The reason for the disconnection could be that the name the subscriber used in registering for their NIN is different from what they used to register their SIM.
“Another issue could be that the line was reassigned to another subscriber, so the name on the SIM could still be the name of the previous owner.”
Reacting to the subscribers’ complaints, Mr Funsho Aina, the Senior Manager, External relations, MTN, said that most of the lines that were barred were because no data were found on the lines.
Aina said that it was possible that these subscribers had done the NIN-SIM linkage, but the data filed for NIN might not be the same as what they registered for their SIM.
He said that a discrepancy in data filed for NIN and for SIM could affect its collation.
“Take, for instance, I register my SIM with Funsho, and in registering for the NIN, I use Olufunsho, which is also my name.
“Even if I do the NIN-SIM linkage, in collating by the telco, the technology might not be able to link the names to one person and the line would be disconnected until the discrepancy is corrected,” he said.
Aina, however, said to correct such discrepancies and be reconnected, there were self-help steps that could be taken.
He urged subscribers to go to the portal: https://nin.mtn.ng/nin to create a Virtual NIN (VNIN).
“You can also dial *996*3# on your mobile phone.
“Select option three for Virtual NIN, Enter your NIN to proceed, then enter ‘109071’ as your Enterprise ID.
“Or alternatively, dial *346*3*your 11-digit NIN*109071# to create a VNIN,” Aina said.
The MTN official also explained that it seemed as if MTN subscribers were more affected because MTN had a larger number of subscribers than the other telcos.
Terrorism: Court Frees Rivers APC Chieftain After Two Years
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has discharged and acquitted a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and Deputy Chairman of Youth Movement in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, Chief Fubara Ohaka, of charges filed against him by the Federal government.
Ohaka had been standing trial on six counts of alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering, terrorism, dealing in illegal refining products without a licence, and conspiracy among other charges preferred against him since 2022 by the Federal government through the Department of State Services.
Delivering judgment in the matter, the trial judge, Justice Stephen Dalyop-Pam, held that the Federal Government failed to provide evidence to back its claims, hence failing to prove its allegations against the defendant.
Our correspondent reports that Justice Dalyop-Pam agreed on no-case submission by the counsel for the defendant and thereby discharged and acquitted him.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, Ohaka expressed happiness that he has been vindicated, saying the judgment has put shame on the faces of all those who conspired to tarnish his image.
He said, “I’m happy that the judiciary has vindicated me today. I told the world that I never had any idea of the allegations against me, I am not a bunker, I have never sponsored any person to do bunkering,
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“Thanks to the judiciary who in its wisdom have reached to the root of the matter and proven to be the last hope of the common man.
“I want to thank those who stood by me in the time of trial, I’m happy that I never disappeared from them when I was told I was innocent of the allegations against me.
“Let me also use this medium to advise government agencies to always carry out proper investigation before engaging in legal battles, because if they had I would not have spent the number of months I spent in detention before the legal action that turned out in my favour today.”
NLC Insists On Planned Protest, Knocks DSS
The Nigeria Labour Congress has insisted that the planned protests against the prevailing economic situation in the country will hold contrary to the warning issued by the Department of State Services to shelve its protests.
The organised labour, on Monday, began mobilising its members for a nationwide protest slated for February 27 and 28 over the cost of living crisis in the country.
The Federal Government’s failure to fulfil its promises after the 14-day ultimatum by Labour, according to sources, will be met with a two-day nationwide protest already slated for February 27 and 28.
Reacting to the planned protests in a statement on Wednesday, the DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, urged the union to shelve the plan in the interest of peace and public order.
The Secret Service urged the union to pursue dialogue and negotiation rather than engage in conduct that could heighten tensions.
However, the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in a statement he personally signed on Wednesday evening, noted that the protests will still hold and questioned why the DSS had yet to execute the arrest of those planning to disrupt the protests.
“We are concerned by the unsolicited advice of the Department of State Security to shelve our planned protest against the unprecedented high cost of living despite the indescribable suffering in the land, spiralling inflation, deepening poverty and the Naira at an exchange rate of N1,900 to the US Dollar.
“According to the Service, the planned protest should be shelved ‘in the interest of peace and public order’, pre-supposing that the action is intended to be violent and disruptive even when we have a history of peaceful protests’.
“More worrying is the new role the Service has assigned to itself, the chief spokesperson of the government.
“We are equally worried that although the “Service is aware that some elements are planning to use the opportunity of the protest to foment crisis and by extension, widespread violence and yet have not executed the arrest of these elements,” the NLC president said.
Ajaero noted that the NLC will not compromise the sovereignty or security of the country while assuring that the protests would be peaceful.
“We are equally intrigued by the innuendos of the Service, their philosophy of “peace” and wild allegations and we want to reassure them that no one loves this country more than us and on our honour, we would never do anything that will compromise its sovereignty or security.
“Having said this, we would not have ourselves blackmailed or lied against by the Service. Our protest is a peaceful one against the unpardonable cost of living of which the unserviced personnel of the Service are also victims.
“We cannot fold our hands and pretend all is well. That will be a grievous conspiracy that history will not forgive,” he said.
VIDEO: Give Tinubu Time To Get Things Done, Gowon Begs Nigerians
A former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), has urged Nigerians to exercise patience with President Bola Tinubu’s administration, emphasizing that it’s premature to anticipate flawless outcomes at this stage.
Gowon spoke in an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting he had with Tinubu on Wednesday.
The former Head of State, who noted that he was visiting Tinubu for the first time after the latter’s inauguration, disclosed that discussions revolved around matters concerning peace and security within the West African sub-region.
Responding to inquiries about his advice to the President regarding the prevailing national circumstances, Gowon acknowledged the existing challenges but stressed that it’s too early to anticipate perfection.
He said, “I was telling him that there’s no Nigerian leader that can get there, that will not get all of these, all that is being said about him. But certainly, there is no doubt about all that one has heard and seen from various media. I think the government is trying its best to deal with the various problems of the country.
“But with Nigerians, don’t worry, you will get criticised but people who get there know better than you know. I think all one can say to Nigerians is that they have to give the President time to get things done and it is too early to sort of say a perfect result will be achieved. That is my opinion.
“At least, if I remembered, I was told that I was too slow, fighting the war and that probably Nigeria would not make it and we should seek for discussion. Well, did we do it or not? They probably did not know the problem there on the ground there.”
VIDEO: Give Tinubu Time To Get Things Done, Gowon Urges Nigerians
A former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), has urged Nigerians to exercise patience with President Bola Tinubu's administration, emphasizing that it's premature to anticipate flawless outcomes at this… pic.twitter.com/14oXWyQ9Ze
— Punch Newspapers (@MobilePunch) February 21, 2024
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