An Advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) has warned that with dearth of registration facilities and the rush by Nigerians to avoid being cut off from their mobile phone lines following the directive to cut off those without National Identification number, the second wave of COVID-19 spread would be hastened.
The group while drawing flak on the directive and approach of the Communications and Digital Economy Minister, Mr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami to within a short period and without putting facilities on ground to enable compliance by the over 100 million subscribers within 14 days, saying that such was wont to create panic and rush that would have scant regard for social distancing.
HURIWA described the directive as “grotesque and an irregular attempt at causing massive catastrophic health emergency of unimaginable dimension.”
A statement signed by its Executive Director, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, charged Nigerians to resist such arbitrariness while the National Assembly should ensure that such an approach that rampled on the fundamental rights of the citizens were not allowed to stand.
Onwubiko pointed at the long queues and scramble to get registered, adding that the desperation would not allow for the observance of the laid down protocols whcich further exposed the country to danger of spreading the infection.
“It is unbelievable that a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be so callous, capricious, crude and tendentious by issuing a public directive on another round of SIM cards registration at a time that the world over, nations are adopting and taking scientific, medical and precautionary measures to stave off the dreaded and grave consequences of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with stricter enforcement of the World Health Organisation’s Protocols such as wearing of face mask and social distancing.”
“How will any rational thinking and sensitively responsible public official give such a primitive, wicked and lawless instruction which goes contrary to the Quarantine Act of 1926 which was invoked by President Muhammadu Buhari over eight months ago since the emergence of the global pandemic of COVID-19 that has killed several millions of members of the human race? Does the Nigerian Minister of Communication plan to generate mass suicide by COVID-19? Why compel millions of subscribers to return for re-registration with the so- called National Identification Number within two weeks even when virtually all the subscribers had on three occasions been compelled to produce either international passports, driver’s licence or National Identity Card numbers? Is the National Identity Card number higher in status than the Valid international passports that most Nigerians presented whilst registering their sim cards at the point of procurement? This insensitive, irresponsible and dangerous directive at this time of the second wave of COVID-19 must be resisted by all Nigerians,” he queried.