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GLOBACOM Limited (GLO) and Airtel Networks Limited are yet to commence SIM replacement processes for their subscribers despite an order lifting suspension on SIM replacement by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).
The federal government, through Isa Ali Pantami, minister of communication and digital economy, in a statement on December 31st, 2020 lifted the temporary suspension on SIM replacement in Nigeria, but the sim operators have refused to comply with the order, thereby creating unnecessary inconveniences for their subscribers.
Flora Bossey, a victim of Airtel SIM replacement refusal, narrated her experience when speaking to our reporter.
“It all started on the first Sunday of January when I was about to go for a training in Ibadan. I was robbed of my phone and some other valuable items at gunpoint,” she said.
“As I went to retrieve my line at one of the Airtel offices in Ibadan, I stood for hours but was not attended to. When I inquired, one of the staff members replied that they had been given orders not to carry out any SIM card retrieval until further notice.
“My line is linked with my National Identification Number (NIN) already so I wonder why I have to go through so much stress,” Flora added.
Further findings by The ICIR revealed that, indeed, Airtel outlets are yet to commence retrieval of SIM for customers.
On Friday, January 12, The ICIR reporter visited an Airtel registration outlet at Kubwa, Abuja, requesting a SIM retrieval, but the agent insisted that the telecoms firm was not working yet.
“We are not working on anything till further notice,” the agent told the reporter.
The same morning, The ICIR reporter also visited a GLO outlet at Wuse 2, Abuja, requesting a SIM retrieval.
The GLO agent also insisted that the telecoms company was currently not retrieving SIM cards and asked the reporter to come back in two weeks’ time.
While waiting around the GLO outlet, a subscriber walked in the office to make a complaint about a lost SIM card.
“I came here last week to retrieve my SIM but GLO refused to attend to me,” the lady, later identified as Glory, said.
“After my phone was stolen, the thieves got access to my account and purchased recharge cards worth 15,000 Naira from my bank account through my GLO SIM.
“After reporting to the police, I was directed to a GLO office branch where the manager told me there was no way the company could help in getting access to the number.
“The manager said GLO could not be of help and so I left the office after waiting for some time. Since then, I have been returning there for my SIM but they kept postponing it, saying that they are not attending to customers for now,” Glory lamented.
The ICIR had, on January 13, reached out to Erhumu Bayagbon, spokesperson of Airtel, to get answers as to why the telecoms company had refused to comply with the NCC directive on SIM replacement. After five days of several calls and mails, Bayagbon, on Monday, January 18, said the company had no response.
“We do not have any response for now,” Bayagbon told the reporter in a telephone conversation.
Spokesperson of GLO could not be reached as several calls placed to his line did not connect and message sent to his line was not responded to.