The news went haywire last week that the federal government of Nigeria has instructed you to mandate all telecom service providers to restrict the number of sim cards registered per Nigerian should not be more than 3.
I hear too that you find this task very hard considering how many Nigerians it will affect. I am certain your senior management staff, their family members will not be out of this sacrificial limit of 3. Also, I hope the cabals don’t influence you to exempt them under this new regime.
Do be guarded please, because a lot them are our problems and not ordinary Nigerians. When I heard the announcement, a lot came to my mind and I will like to have a brief discussion with you and the federal government on this.
First, don’t get me wrong, the move is commendable, at least, the president and my governor will have no choice than to pick my call when next I call them not like the past era where their Personal Assistant and Secretaries answer the popular lines (Sometimes more than 4) meanwhile they have another 1 or 2 has very personal lines.
I do hope you don’t come out with a guideline that exempts political office holders and very high networth individuals like me “abeg na mouth I dey ooo, I need appointment o”.
Back to the sim card restriction order, there are some very weighty aspects I thought I should share with you in this letter:
First, shouldn’t the Federal Government be more concerned about the quality of the network service provided by these Telecom Operators. Before restricting number of sim held, should the FG not first be mindful of the quality of the service provided by them.
Network instability, data bonuses and network strength, data pricing, call rates disparity, network coverage and so on are some aspects of quality parameters the federal government should look into before implementing a policy such as this.
What will an individual need more than 3 sim cards for? Someone may ask. Yes it sounds very awkward. However, in the Nigerian environment, it is a normal thing for an average customer to have more than 3 lines. Let me give you some scenarios in case you find it hard to believe.
As a result of network challenges and coverage, Mr Adams Buhari 2 lines of 2 different networks. He opened a business and thought it wise to have 2 lines for the business and had to register the lines in his name. I know you wonder why he had to get 2 lines for his company. Yes inefficiency again.
We can go on, Mr Adams B. Registered a new line for his children. This is necessary because there is need to keep in touch with the children at home. It is impossible to get a sim for a minor.
What worries me more is that Mr Adams Buhari has a modem which he uses for internet. For the modem to function, he has to register a sim. Some Nigerians even use more than 1 modem for personal and business purposes. For how long do we have to rely on modem and sim card for internet service in this country?
Let me ask, why have we not restricted the number of houses Nigerians should have? How about number of bank accounts an individual should maintain? How about maximum number of foreign bank accounts and maximum number of luxury cars per individual? Shouldn’t the Federal Government also look into all that and leave Nigerians alone?
The challenge is not with us having unlimited number of sim cards but its about the telecom operator not being effective. The government should not use this as an oppression tool by infringing on the rights and freedom of Nigerians instead it should mandate the Telecom Operators to render quality service including data and virtual lines for businesses and private use.
Have you gone to a Telecom Operator for sim upgrade or sim replacement, you will be required to provide an ID card and a fresh finger print will be captured. The question is why this is so after previously registering the sim and data capture. We like to collect data so much in this country but not much is being achieved with the data.
Finally, let me remind the NCC that restricting sim held per person to 3 is a good development but this is not what Nigeria requires at the moment. Which problem are we attempting to solve by such a regulation? I hear insecurity.
We have not yet tackled poverty, unemployment; NIMC data capture efficiency and quality, and lots more. Data management is one area we have failed as a nation.
Shouldn’t we first overcome the identified issues other than starting a new one? We need an efficient telecom service provider. Look into data and data management including network coverage, data quality and pricing. Existing sim card held by individuals that are economically active or active on the network should be allowed.
Your Sim Cards spotter,
PS: It is a good thing to limit sim held per person to 3 but lets have a better service delivery and a better telecom experience in this country as well