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Saturday, 5 September 2015

Lagos residents groan over barred network lines

Some Lagos residents have expressed frustration over having to spend many hours in the premises of telecommunications operators in a bid to validate their Subscribers Identity Module cards.

The Nigerian Communications Commission had issued a directive to the telecoms companies on June 15 to either re-register the SIM cards of some of their subscribers whose data were not properly captured or risk heavy fines.
To this effect, major telecoms operators, especially MTN and Airtel Nigeria, had been sending notifications to the affected subscribers to visit their offices in order to validate their SIM cards registration.
However, our correspondent, who visited the offices of MTN and Airtel in the Ojodu area of Lagos on Friday observed subscribers were made to sit and stand in the sun in order to validate their lines.
Some of the subscribers, who had had their telephone lines barred from accessing the operators’ services, lamented that the new NCC directive was having a toll on them.
Olanrewaju Adams, an MTN subscriber whose line got barred on Wednesday, said he had been visiting the office since Thursday, but had been unable to register his SIM card due to the large crowd.
He said, “I don’t understand why I need to register my line again since I’ve done it before. They said my face was not captured. Was that my fault? Why didn’t they do what they were supposed to do initially? I left my business yesterday and today (Friday) again. For how long will I continue to do this?”
An Airtel subscriber, Chigozie Udoh, said if he were to be in an advanced country, he would have sued the telecoms operator for the stress it had caused him.
He said, “It is just that anything goes in Nigeria. We don’t have proper planning. Why should we be always subjected to suffering like this every time?”
The NCC said it had identified about 38 million mobile lines which were not properly registered with the telecoms operators. About 10 million of those subscribers were barred last month.
MTN said in a statement that it had increased the number of staff doing the SIM registration/validation across all its channels and had mandated all its registration outlets to remain open till 8pm every day until further notice.
It said, “We also appeal that you do not panic and remain calm as you visit our various outlets. We are committed to ensuring that all affected subscribers complete the process as directed by the NCC.”

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