As the BBnaija 2020 voting opens today, the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC the body responsible for regulating telecom activities in the country must be concerned.
As part of checking the rate of crime and kidnapping in the country, the Nigerian government under former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan made it mandatory for the registration of SIM cards.
To register or retrieve a lost SIM card, a person must provide a valid identification card, get captured and finger printed. This to a large extent gave confidence to the public.
However, the telecommunication companies have defaulted and have been all this while. It is either the NCC is unaware or choose to look the other way or are lame duck to act. We do not need a major evil incidence that will shake the nation before we sit up.
The Big Brother Naija reality show voting apart from voting via DSTV/GoTV app requires via short codes on specified network lines. The housemates with the lowest voting numbers are evicted.
The race for votes is high among much interest that pay fans in groups to vote massively for their preferred contestants. Some influential persons spend millions of naira each voting week.
In the 2019 ‘pepper dem’ edition. I observed some persons with as much as over a hundred MTN SIM card. It was distributed among their friends and neighbours.
They voted using all the SIM cards. I saw some persons sit in a group using the SIM cards to vote. One person was given as much SIM cards as they could vote.
How where they able to get this cards? I was told the cards were pre-registered by some agents of the network provider.
MTN is not the only one at defaukt here. I saw someone some months back before the lockdown gifting Glo SIM cards to his friends. He said he is friends with a Glo marketing agents,
The agent he alleges has a target to meet and all he needs is to have the SIMs activated. The cards are pre-registered with call or data credits. They are used and thrown away just like those of the MTN.
The danger is that these cards could find their ways to violent criminals or kidnappers. Some scammers could use these SIMS to make calls to defraud unsuspecting public and dump the cards thereafter; Calls to the numbers do not go through once they succeed in their crimes. Have you ever wondered how kidnappers still make calls for ransom and yet they are not identified.
The security agents should be alert to these practices as we enter another voting season of BBnaija, The NCC should live up to its constitutional duty of not just warning but monitoring the network providers.
The telecom companies should take this serious so as not to be accomplice to an insecure Nigeria.
As the BBnaija 2020 voting starts may we not lose our guards but bear in mind that security is our collective responsibilty.