By Okuanwan Offiong
Network providers across the different telecommunications network in Lagos say they are yet to receive approval to resume registration of new Subscriber Identification Module (SIM).
The telecom operators made the disclosure in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
NAN recalls that the Federal Government suspended the registration of new SIM in December 2020 and lifted the ban with effect from April 19.
A visit by a NAN correspondent to some of the network providers’ customer service outlets, observed that no SIM registration was done, as most subscribers who requested for new SIM were turned down.
Some officials of the different network stores in some parts of Surulere and Lagos Island who pleaded anonymity, said they were yet to get approval from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to roll out sales of new SIM cards.
“We are aware of the lift in ban of new SIM cards but we have not been given the official ‘green light to go ahead.
“We still await instructions from the authorities on that issue and that is what we tell our subscribers when they request for it.
“We want to follow due process that we are not held responsible for any SIM card sales ,hence we only retrieve old SIMs that were lost with proof of ownership and of course the NIN identification”.
Some of the subscribers, who spoke with NAN at the various locations, said that they needed new SIMs for their wards, businesses and other needs.
Mr Isaac Benson, a trader, said that it was a welcome development when it was announced that SIM registration was restored, adding that he needed the new SIM for his new business centre outlet.
“I still don’t understand why we are yet to register for new SIM card. I just floated a new business centre here in Surulere and I needed to get lines to attach to the centre, only to be informed that it was yet to start registration.
“I hope the government will quickly give the network providers the permission to start the reissuing of new SIM to avoid delay in our various businesses.
Ronke Thompson, 18, was also turned down for requesting for a new SIM card for her new phone.
“I just turned 18 years and I was given a new phone by my brother, I need a new SIM card for myself but my preferred network said no SIM card sales yet.
“I just want to have my own line to reach out to my friends and for my privacy,” Thompson said.
Temitope Yusuf, a food vendor also lamented that her business needed new lines to aid her business for customers to make orders and booking.
“Right now, I need about two more lines for my staff members to receive orders and bookings for food from customers, we have one line which is really making business slow.
“I sincerely beg that new SIMs should be rolled out to help us,” Yusuf said.
NAN reports that NCC on Thursday arrested no fewer than five suspected individuals for allegedly engaging in fraudulent registering and sale of SIM cards.
The arrest was made during the commission’s routine enforcement operations in Abuja.
The Head of the NCC enforcement operations, Salish Abdu said that the exercise was part of the routine activities embarked upon by the commission to rid the industry of criminal elements engaging in fraudulent registration of SIM cards.
Abdu warned that those engaged in the unlawful registration of SIMs to desist from the illegal act, noting that the commission would continue to deal with perpetrators.
He said that the enforced activities would continue in other states of the country. (NAN)