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No respite for subscribers as NIMC, telcos outlets are overwhelmed

By Adeyemi Adepetun and Tomike Owoturo
11 April 2022   |   3:04 am
Crowds have continued to besiege service outlets belonging to telecoms operators and designated National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) centres to register for the National Identification Number

[FILES] Applicants queue to obtain national identity numbers at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) office, in the Lagos state capital of Ikeja, – (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

NCC awards N233m in research grants, professorial chair endowments

Crowds have continued to besiege service outlets belonging to telecoms operators and designated National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) centres to register for the National Identification Number (NIN), link their NIN to their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) and unbar their telephone lines.

Subscribers in large numbers were seen at MTN offices at Fatai Atere, Adeniran Ogunsanya, Ajao Estate and Ire Akari, among others.

The NIMC service outlet at Alausa was besieged, alongside others across the state and outside Lagos.

The development came after the Federal Government, through telecoms companies, barred Nigerians, who had not linked their SIMs and NINs together, from making calls.

The move was aimed at enforcing compliance with the government’s SIM-NIN policy.

Some subscribers, who were caught in the call barring web, however, appealed to the Federal Government to give them more time to complete the process.

Tejumade Onibudo, who claimed that the barred SIM was critical to her business, said: “I appeal to the Federal Government to give us more time to complete the process.”

On Twitter, Temiloluwa Daniel @DanielAjayi07 claimed: “Even after I linked my NIN to my SIM, my number was still barred. Even my numbers are ‘validated’ in the NIMC app, yet I’m still barred. Many market women will be so bothered. SIM offices will be filled up. Moral: Nigeria will find a way to frustrate you.”

Already, the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers has appealed to the Federal Government to extend the NIN-SIM policy deadline by three months.

According to the president of the association, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, telecoms service centres are going to continue to witness an increase in human traffic if the government does not consider extending the implementation of the policy by another 90 days.

NIMC, however, has restated its commitment to ensuring the process is seamless, stressing that thus far, it had issued over 78 million unique NINs, and currently carries out enrolment from its over 15,200 centres.

MEANWHILE, in recognition of the academia as a stakeholder in its commitment to linkages and local development of Nigeria’s telecommunications sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has awarded fresh research grants and endowed professorial chairs in some Nigerian universities in the sum of N233 million.

From the sum, N172.5 million was awarded to support 13 proposals found to have met the stipulated criteria in the advertised 2021 Request for Proposal (RfP) for Telecommunications-Based Research Innovations from Nigerian Tertiary Institutions (research grant) Programme.

Additionally, three universities received N20 million each for the endowments of the professorial chair by the Commission.

Speaking at the award ceremony, at the weekend, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the event demonstrated NCC’s strong resolve in advancing the impact of digital technologies on the national economy, using indigenous products and solutions.