NCC’s Ultimatum is a Nonsensical Nuisance Taken too Far

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Anthony Kila questions the rationale behind the demand by the National Communication Commission for a National Identification Number as the only criteria to operate a functional telephone line in Nigeria

Dear Readers

Nonsense and nuisance have one thing in common: Against all odds they can grow in infinity. The recent outing of the telecoms regulator in Nigeria is another proof of such. Just when you think you have seen it all, someone in power will surprise you with an amazing capacity for reckless abuse and display of a seemingly pathological disconnection from reality.

There is no other way to put, the recent ultimatum given by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to telecommunications operators in the country to -in two weeks- block all SIM cards that are not registered with the National Identity Numbers (NIN) is vile and vexatious.

Clearly someone made that decision simply because he has no regard for obvious consequences such as timing, health and other logistical issues.

This is an example of a clear lack of regard for people, plans and project by power.

We must stop this ridiculous and annoying nonsense. It is a peculiar kind of dangerous nonsense that should not be allowed in public space.

To understand how nonsensical this ultimatum is, all you need do is to imagine and consider on one side the process that led to the ultimatum and on the other side, the most immediate and most remote consequences of the ultimatum.

The telecom sector, with all its many flaws, is arguably one of the most productive, most advanced and perhaps most organized sectors in Nigeria today, add to that the fact it serves perhaps most Nigerians than any other sector. In dealing with such a sector, you would think a government official whether elected or nominated would approach matters arising with prudence and tact if not deference and care and preparation.

Let us face things bluntly: What feat has any Nigerian minister or any DG achieved on a professional level or what telecoms knowledge have they acquired that makes them feel so comfortable to be reckless enough to give profit and operation threating ultimatums to companies that invest trillions of Naira, employ thousands of Nigerian citizens and service millions of Nigerian consumers? A quick glance at the profile of and history of these ultimatum issuers will show you that their only claim to fame, power and resultant hubris, that makes them act like some power drunk administrators of some Whatsapp group some of us belong to, is that they represent the people.

And therein lies the paradox: An ultimatum like this one does not make sense because it does not serve the people on whose behalf power is wielded. You do not need a soothsayer to tell you that the answer would have been a resounding “No” if the government had asked the people, if they would want such ultimatum. You do not need to be a very deep thinker to project the possible consequences of this ultimatum: It is a case of heads we lose tail we lose.

Let us imagine that Nigerians out of fear of losing their numbers rush to get the required National Identity Numbers (NIN) in the next few days, what do you see when close your eyes? Queues upon queues and chaos? You are wrong, this December 2020, what you are actually seeing is a fluid and flourishing Coronavirus distribution network. Death by SIM card caused by nonsensical nuisance. Let us imagine that people care about their lives, take health waring seriously and ignore this ultimatum. Then we shall wake up one morning in less than two-week’s time to see many blocked sim cards in Nigeria.

What is going on in the minds of those managing our affairs? One is forced to ask again.

In a land of passport, BVN, voters’ card and other forms of ID, they did not even bother to think of an alternative to the National Identity Numbers (NIN). How many people do think have registered for this NIN? Where are they getting their data from? Who are these ultimatum issuers reporting to?
Who exactly amongst the elected and nominated care about how we the people feel about things anymore? As at the time of writing this piece no legislator has raised any concern or called the DG of the NCC to come and speak up about this his brilliant idea.

What about the President?

Let us face it we are all on our own.

The NCC’s ultimatum is not just senseless nuisance it is also an afront to all of us. Those who dared to think of this ultimatum are daring us to see how much we can take. They keep springing up laws and directives that have no regard for our time, plans, project or principles.

Dear reader, I have news for you: They will not stop until we stop them ourselves it is not enough to jeer, hiss or laugh at our daily disaster anymore. We must stand up to say no in any way we know.

QUOTE

Let us imagine that Nigerians out of fear of losing their numbers rush to get the required National Identity Numbers (NIN) in the next few days, what do you see when close your eyes? Queues upon queues and chaos? You are wrong, this December 2020, what you are actually seeing is a fluid and flourishing Coronavirus distribution network. Death by SIM card caused by nonsensical nuisance. Let us imagine that people care about their lives, take health waring seriously and ignore this ultimatum. Then we shall wake up one morning in less than two-week’s time to see many blocked sim cards in Nigeria.

What is going on in the minds of those managing our affairs? One is forced to ask again. In a land of passport, BVN, voters’ card and other forms of ID, they did not even bother to think of an alternative to the National Identity Numbers (NIN). How many people do think have registered for this NIN?