Failure of SIM-NIN linkage to nail kidnappers -GCFRNG

Failure of SIM-NIN linkage to nail kidnappers -GCFRNG

SEVERAL media reports since July this year have confirmed that the much vaunted linking of the Subscriber Identification Module, SIM, with the National Identity Number, NIN, has not achieved its goal of helping to catch terrorists, bandits and kidnappers.

The Federal Government found that its efforts to reduce the “bandits” terrorizing the Northwest and parts of the North Central failed because criminals were able to freely use their GSM phones to call the families of their kidnapped victims for ransoms.

The Communications Ministry issued a directive, ordering the linking of SIMs to NINs to facilitate the tracking and capture of these terrorists.

In fact, it was advanced to give several deadlines for the national implementation of the directive. While Nigerians were still struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and the #EndSARS crisis, the Federal Government approved a deadline of December 30, 2020 to link SIMs to NINs or owners would lose their phone numbers. It continued to extend the deadline five times, the last being on October 30, 2021.

No one opposes the laudable policy of linking SIMs and NINs. It should help solidify our identity and security systems and improve the quality of governance if the government itself is serious about exploiting its advantages.

But by all indications, the government has not demonstrated its ability or willingness to take advantage of the strengths of the link. Criminals who keep their captives in the forests have continued to freely use their lines to conduct what some regime officials have cynically described as “transactional business.”

Reports indicate that when captives are released after paying huge ransoms, security officers remain inactive even when given the terrorists’ phone numbers.

It is the job of these agencies, in collaboration with telecommunications service providers, to catch terrorists and kidnappers who make phone calls. A situation where they do not act even when given the numbers of the criminals shows that the SIM-NIN link policy has failed even before it is completed.

The officials are not doing their job. Two reasons can be adduced for this. Either some officials go to work with criminals for selfish gain and at the expense of innocent citizens, or there is an atmosphere of general alienation and discontent among security and defense personnel. It can be both.

We are surely reaping the damage of putting our military, police and other security agencies in the hands of people in one part of the country. This leaves them free to do whatever they want with our country, while the staff in the rest of the country are unhappy.

In order for Nigeria to function again, we must get rid of the extreme nepotism policies of this regime.

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Failure of SIM-NIN linkage to nail kidnappers -GCFRNG

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