KADUNA, NIGERIA – Following the recent suspension of the sale, registration and activation of SIM cards by the federal ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, not less than two million Nigerian youths have been rendered jobless.
Addressing newsmen in Kaduna on Monday, the Arewa Telecom Operators Agents and SIM card Dealers Association (ATOASDA), noted that they were aware of the Federal Government’s intention to address security challenges through linkage of National Identity Number NIN with mobile numbers and suspension of new SIM cards registration.
ATOASDA fears that rendering two million youths jobless might worsen the security challenges in the country.
The group’s President, Hassan Yakubu, said as a registered association under corporate affairs commission of the federal republic of Nigeria with registration number CAC/IT/NO131761 and with Nigeria communications commission volume number as NCC/CAB/2019/VOL.1/011, they are fully in support of the government measures to protect the lives and properties of the citizenry.
The group explained that the federal government must trade carefully, saying that all available research works on the causes of insecurity across the country have been linked primarily to youth unemployment.
ATOASDA stressed that the income of the telecoms business partners, staff and the agents, majority of whom are within the age bracket between 20 to 40 years in the value chain is determined by the number of activations /SIM registration carried out within the month.
According to the group, the suspension of SIM card registration may trigger another worse form of insecurity especially in zones most affected by the insecurity, pointing out that the growth in the Telecom sector is determined by the sub-sector that was suspended and the celebrated 17% contribution by Telecom sector on the GDP was as a result of the activities of the sub-sector under suspension.
It advised that the federal government can still achieve the desired result as well as avoid creating more problems in an attempt to solve a problem if the suspension is revised immediately to avoid the danger the suspension may expose the youth.
The group suggested that all existing SIM Cards must be paired with the NIN numbers within a stipulated time, while an average of three months should be allowed for smooth and effective pairing.
It further suggested that the SIM Cards sale, registrations and activations should be allowed to continue, while an average of 10 new NIN machines be deployed in every local government in the 774 local governments of the federation for a better reach.
The group explained, “That no new SIM Card should be allowed to synchronize without the support of NIN number and ID card until the SIM Card and NIN number pairing is concluded.”