SERAP Gives FG 48 Hours to Unblock Unlinked SIM Cards

April 10, 2022
Unlinked SIM Cards

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the federal government to unblock millions of SIM cards not linked to the National Identification Number (NIN).

Business Post had reported that the federal government directed telecommunications companies in the country to bar all outgoing calls on unlinked SIM cards from Monday, April 4, 2022. Unlinked lines are Subscriber Identity Modules (SIMs) not yet registered and linked with the NIN by users.

While reacting to the ban via a statement issued on Sunday, SERAP asked President Muhammadu Buhari to “direct the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to immediately reverse the apparently unlawful decision to block over 72 million active telecommunication subscribers from making calls on their SIMs”.

“Blocking people from making calls undermines their ability to communicate freely, and associate with others. It infringes their rights to freedom of expression and family life, as well as socio-economic rights,” SERAP deputy director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare said.

While noting that the decision will have a chilling effect, dissuading the free expression of ideas and information, SERAP argued that the move was inconsistent and incompatible with the country’s international legal obligations to respect, protect, promote and facilitate economic and social rights. The decision contradicts the tenets of the rule of law and democratic society, it said.

“Immediately reversing the decision would be in conformity with the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended], and Nigeria’s international human rights obligations. Reversing the decision would also improve the confidence of the international community in human rights and the rule of law in Nigeria.

“The decision will cause a wide variety of harms to economic activity, and personal safety, and disproportionately affect those on the margins of society. This will directly hinder the ability of the government to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s Goal 8 on the promotion of sustained, inclusive, sustainable economic growth.

“Millions of Nigerians including persons with disabilities, elderly citizens, persons living in remote areas have been unable to capture their biometrics, and obtain their National Identity Numbers [NINs] due to logistical challenges, administrative and bureaucratic burdens, as well as the persistent collapse of the national grid,” the statement added.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

Leave a Reply

Diesel Refining Capacity
Previous Story

Court Jails Five for Diesel Theft

SCADA system
Next Story

FG to Fast-Track SCADA System to Halt Recurring Grid Collapse

Latest from General

Don't Miss