A South Africa-based Nigerian lawyer, Austin Okeke, has said that the deadline given by the Nigerian government to mobile phone users in the country to synchronise their SIM cards with their National Identification Number is an infringement on their rights.
Okeke, who spoke to SaharaReporters, on Thursday said the directive was a violation of the rights of Nigerians, adding that such pronouncement was ambiguous.
He said, “One, there is an infringement on the rights of people with that policy. There is a whole lot of ambiguity in the policy. It didn’t come out from a well-organised government.
“If you look at the policy, it just came out all of a sudden except if there has been a notice given to the network operators before now. So, it’s just a short notice and not feasible, not even possible for every Nigerian to register within that short time bracket.”
He said the policy failed to address the concerns of Nigerians in Diaspora who still use their Nigeria-created SIMs, as well as foreigners residing in the country without NIN.
Okeke said, “Before we even go to foreigners living in Nigeria without NIN, we have Nigerians abroad, keeping their Nigeria-originated numbers and maintaining them. So, how will they keep their numbers with this government’s policy? Would they have to forfeit them? All of these are just premature decisions from the government to victimise.
“If you now look at the issue of foreigners living in Nigeria without NIN, would the government accommodate them? How would they differentiate those with Nigerians?”
The federal government warned that all mobile phone users that had not registered their SIMs with NIN have till December 30 to do so or risk being barred from using telecommunication services in the country.
SaharaReporters, New York