Nigerian telcos seek SIM reg extension

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Telecoms service providers in Nigeria have asked that the deadline of the nation-wide subscriber identification module (SIM) cards exercise, which ended yesterday, be extended by another three months.

The operators, acting under aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ALTON) cited the last minute desperation of subscribers to register their SIM cards and the security challenges in the north-eastern part of the country where the dreaded Boko Haram group has unleashed mayhem on the people as reason for the request.

In a letter jointly addressed to the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Eugene Juwah, co-signed by the chairman of the group and its executive secretary, Gbenga Adebayo and Kazeem Ladepo, respectively, the operators made an impassioned appeal for an extension of the deadline.

“We write in respect of the SIM Card Registration Exercise and the notice of instruction for mass disconnection of un-registered subscribers with effect from Sunday, 30th June 2013 to our members.

“We would like to draw your attention that although the SIM Card Registration has been ongoing for some time, but subscribers have embraced this exercise more in the past few weeks leading to the 30th June 2013 deadline.”

“Also, in the light of the security situation in the country and the general logistic problems, it has been very difficult for the subscribers, registration agents and our members (Operators) to meet the 30th June 2013 deadline,” the letter, dated July 28, read in part.

“We appreciate the efforts of the Commission in this process and the attendant public awareness campaign over the past few weeks and we believe that the exercise will be more successful if an extension of time is considered.

“We hereby request a three (3) months extension to the SIM Card Registration exercise in order for its overall success,” the operators pleaded.

SIM card registration began in 2011 and has been marred by complaints by subscribers whose SIMs were registered by both the agents of the NCC and those of the operators but whose phones have been inundated with text messages and calls that their SIMs were not registered many months after they had done so and gone to bed in the hope they were through with it

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