Nigerians who have been affected by the partial Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) deactivation order of the Federal Government yesterday stormed the offices of the telecoms companies to find out why they haven’t been able to make calls calls on their phones despite having sufficient airtime.
After several extensions, the Federal Government had, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), ordered telecoms operators to bar subscribers on their networks that have not linked their SIMs to their National Identity Number (NIN) from originating calls ostensibly as a prelude to total deactivation.
According to The Nation, no fewer than 72.7million lines would be affected by the government ban.
At the MTN office located along Fatai Atere Way, Mushin, Lagos, subscribers besieged the office and formed a very long queue. Many of them had woken up only to discover they couldn’t originate calls from their phones. One of them who identified himself simply Chukwudi, a spare parts dealer, said he was shocked when he tried fruitlessly to make calls to his boys to give them instruction as usual.
No fewer than 72.7million lines would be affected by the government ban.At the MTN office located along Fatai Atere Way, Mushin, Lagos, subscribers besieged the office and formed a very long queue. Many of them had woken up only to discover they couldn’t originate calls from their phones. One of them who identified himself simply Chukwudi, a spare parts dealer, said he was shocked when he tried fruitlessly to make calls to his boys to give them instruction as usual.
He said: “I am a spare parts seller. Normally, when I wake up in the morning, I used to call my boys and give them instructions on what to do for the day. When I tried my MTN line, there was no response. Since I use a dual SIM phone, I switched to my 9mobile and was told: ‘Call not registered on network’. Since this place is closer to my shop, I decided to come and find out what has happened,” he said
Asked why, for so long, he refused to link his SIMs with his NIN, he said he didn’t know how to do it.
In Ayobo and Abesan Estate on the outskirts of Lagos, frustrated subscribers also besieged the two enrolment centres adjacent each other in Ayobo. The centres, which are shops, had between 15 and 20 would-be enrollees, mainly teenagers.
Some of them blamed the punitive cost of enrolment for NIN for their misfortune. Many of them said N2,000 was too high to enroll for something that should have come free.
Seventeen-year-oldTimi Akolade said he had told his parents to make the money available, but they refused because two of my brothers were in private universities and the weight was taking a toll on the family finance.
“My parents complained that NIN should be free. They accused the operators of the enrolment centres of taking undue advantage of the situation. But when I told my mom this morning that my number is on the verge of being blocked and I reminded her that I will need the NIN to do my Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination next year, she quickly raised the money for me to come and do it today. But see the crowd now. I have been here for about one hour,” he said.
The clerk at an enrolment centre in Enibel Street, Abesan Estate, Bidemi Olajubu, said the centre has seen an unprecedented human traffic whose lines were affected by the Federal Government’s directive. “The pressure has been much on me since yesterday. Today, the pressure has continued. People are angry that they couldn’t make calls with their phones. Many of them are doing business and are unable to connect with their customers,” he said.