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  • Updated: April 21, 2022

NIN-SIM: Telecom Consumers To Sue FG Over Call Barring

NIN-SIM: Telecom Consumers To Sue FG Over Call Barring

Telecom subscribers under the umbrella of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) have stated that they are poised to take the federal government to court in May in order to halt the government's barring of their outgoing calls.

The government's ban on the subscribers' SIMs took effect on Monday, April 4, with telecom brands instructed to bar all outgoing calls on all lines yet to link their National Identification Number (NIM) and the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM).

The move has led to about 72.77 million active telecom subscribers being barred from making calls.

Responding to the situation, NATCOMS called on the federal government to extend the implementation of the SIM-NIN policy by three months.

The association further stated that the government should use a month in implementing the ban.

Speaking in an interview with Punch on Wednesday, the President of the association, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, said that NATCOMS is ready to drag the government to court by May if the ban is not temporarily lifted.

He revealed that the association will be joined in a suit that has already been filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) against the federal government on the NIN-SIM policy implementation.

"We have said that if the Federal Government does not lift the ban, we would go to court. But SERAP said it had filed a document in the court. So, we are giving the government until the end of the month.

"NATCOM is saying that by end of the month, we will go to court. We are going to court to ensure the government unbans the lines and extends the deadline. SERAP has made the first move already, we would be joined in the suit.

"After the expiration of our deadline for the government to reconsider its decision, we would formally go to court, along with SERAP. By the first week in May, we are joining SERAP in the court."

Speaking further, Ogunbanjo stated that even subscribers who linked their NIN to their SIMs before the directive from the government were also blocked.

He called the act unfair and added that it has had an adverse effect on businesses.

"The present situation of things is so bad because a lot of people that have linked their NIN and SIM are also being blocked. These consumers now have to visit telecom service centres. This is unfortunate.

"When I spoke to one of the telcos, I was told that only ongoing calls were being blocked. 

"As subscribers can still use data, WhatsApp, and text message services; which aligns with the directive of the ministry. However, several people use their lines for business, and this is having an effect on them.

"They can’t make calls to their clients, this is a very terrible situation that is affecting businesses. These are part of the reasons we will join SERAP in the suit so that the Federal Government can unban these lines.

"And we would request at least a minimum of three months extension of the exercise in the court."

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