FG To Sanction Telecoms Over SIM Registration Harassment


In a bid to comply with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) directive on the registration of all Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) in use, Mobile Telephone Networks, has resorted to threatening customers with numerous test messages to either complete their SIM Registration or face disconnection. However, the federal government has stepped in to salvage the situation, by sanctioning any telecom company that continues to harass it’s customers.

In recent times, some telecommunication brands in Nigeria have shown incompetency in managing their brand, with regards to upgrading their technology, network and database. The sim registration process had been initiated severally in the past, but due to inadequate data collection and incomplete registrations, the process has been brought back and the brand is imposing it on customers to register their sims all over again.

Bearing in mind that customers can not function effectively without communicating with friends, families and business associates, the process is now made a necessary evil that can not be avoided. Although the brand promises to compensate successfully registered sim with free airtime voucher, the registration queue is unarguably long and the process, quite slow.

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A statement by the special assistant on media, Mr Victor Oluwadamilar, to the minister of communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, said that this has become necessary, following the numerous complaints by telecoms subscribers across the country. According to him, subscribers, especially women, who queue to re-register their lines face series of embarrassment from the registration officers.

“The minister’s office had been inundated with complaints from Nigerians, particularly women in veil, over the way they were being treated, sometimes humiliated, by the workers of telecommunications companies nationwide.

“In some of the complaints, women in pudah were required to remove their veils in public despite requests by such women that a place should be provided for them away from public glare and for only female officials to attend to them. All entreaties by these women failed, rather they were allegedly accused of being Boko Haram agents and refused registration after several altercations ensued in some of the registration centres.”

The minister, who frowned at the development, urged the telecommunications companies involved to accord maximum respect to their clients, particularly the women, by respecting their feminine nature and religious disposition. The Nigerian Constitution has guaranteed the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion of all citizens and that such right should never be violated by executive or administrative lawlessness, high handedness, and insensitivity, he added.

The minister also pointed out that Nigerians deserve unreserved apologies from the concerned telecoms companies, saying that it is inhuman and unacceptable to treat Nigerians in such a cruel manner as it is a universal maxim that the right of even minorities are respected worldwide.

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He urged the telecommunications companies to re-take their staff on a costumer care training, to enable them learn the right and civilized ways of treating customers. He added that any telecom company that fails to comply with the policy of the Nigerian government under the change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari, will be sanctioned without leniency.