Posted by News Express | 18 December 2020 | 324 times
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has condemned the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, for arbitrarily directing telecommunications companies to compel their over 100 million subscribers to return for another round of verification and re-registration with their National Identity Card numbers or lose their lines within 14 days.
HURIWA described this directive as “grotesque and an irregular attempt at causing massive catastrophic health emergency of unimaginable dimension.”
The rights group said against the backdrop of “this unscientific and risky directive done in a military fashion,” the National Assembly and the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should resist this coercive and arbitrary directive which will inevitably threaten the enjoyment of all the constitutionally protected and guaranteed fundamental freedoms and human rights of Nigerians including the right to life (section 33(1) of the Constitution given that the demand on over one 100 million subscribers to return for another round of verification and registration with a presentation of the so called National Identity Card numbers will expose Nigerians to the much talked about and much dreaded second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, which, according to medical experts, is much more virulent and devastating.
“It is unbelievable that a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be so callous, capricious, crude and tendentious by issuing a public directive on another round of SIM Cards Registration at a time that the world over, nations are adopting and taking scientific, medical and precautionary measures to stave off the dreaded and grave consequences of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with stricter enforcement of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s protocols such as wearing of face mask and social distancing.
“How will any rational thinking and sensitively responsible public official give such a primitive, wicked and lawless instruction which goes contrary to the Quarantine Act of 1926 which was invoked by President Muhammadu Buhari over eight months ago since the emergence of the global pandemic of COVID-19 that has killed several millions of people? Does the Minister of Communications plan to generate mass suicide by COVID-19?
“Why compel millions of subscribers to return for re-registration with the so called National Identification Number within two weeks even when virtually all the subscribers had on three occasions been compelled to produce international passports, driver’s licence or National Identity Card numbers?
“Is the National Identity Card number higher in status than the valid international passports that most Nigerians presented whilst registering their SIM Cards at the point of procurement? This insensitive, irresponsible and dangerous directive at this time of the second wave of COVID-19 must be resisted by all Nigerians,” HURIWA stated.
The rights group reminded the Minister why his directives on re-registration of SIM Cards that will spark off massive rush by over 100 million subscribers is a grace threat to the right to life of Nigerians and also recalled that the Nigerian Medical Association's President, Prof. Innocent Ujah, who spoke against the background of the onset of the second wave of the pandemic in the country, said steps must be taken to break the chain of community transmission of the virus for the country to combat the resurgence of the disease.
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