Although kidnappers and terrorists still use phone conversations to negotiate for ransom, Professor Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, explains that since the linking of sim cards with the National Indentation Number, NIN, started, considerable improvements have been seen.
The Minister who provided the justification claimed that since the exercise began, there has been a noticeable decrease in the amount of calls made by scammers to unwary phone users.
He some in Umuahia, Abia State, during the World National Identify Day celebration.
He said that the innovation is a slow process and warned people not to anticipate it eradicating evil in an instant.
Pantami said, ”The issue of Kidnappers’ calls has actually reduced with respect to ransom by phones. The sanitation of the existing system cannot be done overnight. It’s an ongoing process.
”Those 419 calls we normally get most of the time have actually reduced because most of the numbers now are attached to the NIN.
”It needs a little bit more time before the entire system will be completely sanitised. But a tremendous impact has been made so far.
”At least for the first time, most people are scared of doing certain things with their phone numbers – making malicious calls.”
Pantami was represented at the event by the Director of Research and Development at the National Information Technology Development Agency, Dr Collins Agu.
against the blocking of unregistered sim cards slowed down efforts toward sanitising the telecom system.
”Recall that when the Minister came and blocked a lot of numbers, there was an outcry by the telecoms, and he relaxed a bit on humanitarian grounds.
”That is also slowing down the whole process because if he had gone the hardliner way, more would have criticized him. It’s a gradual process but some progress has been made”, Agu said.
According to Agu, Pantami has brought a lot of innovation in the Information Technology sector of the country.
“When Professor Pantami came on board the enrollment at NIMC (¡National Identify Management Commission) tripled. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, ICT contributed 18.7% of our Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
“He was able to get NIMC out of the office of the SGF because you can’t have a digital economy without a robust ID system. ID creates trust, traceability and transparency,” Agu said.
Applauding Abia State for keying into the NIMC eco-system, he assured that the Federal Government would assist the state in achieving the aims of the digital economy.
”Abia took the lead on NIMC eco-system adoption so much so that they even created a special unit on NIMC matters. Abia has strong activities going on at NIMC,” he added.