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Blocked Lines Hit 40m Over NIN-SIM Linkage

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At least 40 million telephone-lines were barred by telecommunication operators over the weekend following the expiration of the February 28, 2024 deadline issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) mandating telecom consumers to link the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) to their National Identity Numbers (NIMs).
This represents a 28 million increase from the 12 million telephone lines initially planned to be deactivated by telcos, following the NCC directive.
In a December 2023 notice, the NCC had asked telcos to bar SIMs that had not been linked to their owners’ NINs by February 28, 2024.
On Thursday, the NCC Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Mouka, ruled out an extension of the deadline, warning that telcos that failed to enforce the deadline would be sanctioned.
The Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, then disclosed to newsmen that telcos would bar 12 million lines as a result of the directive.
However, on Sunday, the ALTON Chairman revealed that the number of barred lines had risen to 40 million, noting that SIMs without NIN were included in the number.
“I can tell you that over 40 million lines have been blocked and the affected customers are those who didn’t submit their NIN at all. Some persons have not presented any NIN to operators.
“They haven’t registered their SIMs or participated in the harmonisation programme. They simply haven’t made any presentation of the NIN number to their operators and those were the persons blocked.
“So, why is the number so alarming despite repeated warnings? It shows many people still communicate but are not registered”, he said.
In the December 2023 notice, the NCC had also asked the Global Satellite Mobile Communications operators to bar SIM holders whose NINs have been submitted but not verified by March 29, 2024, and interdict those who have less than five lines linked to an unverified NIN by April 15, 2024.
The Federal Government had, on December 16, 2020, introduced the SIM-NIN synchronisation initiative meant to enable security agencies to track criminals.
The synchronisation involves validating the NIN with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and matching the subscribers’ NIN records with the SIM registration information (verification) to ensure proper subscriber identification.
However, Nigerians raised questions on why security agencies have not used the SIM-NIN linkage to track criminals, especially bandits and kidnappers, who often use mobile telephone lines to speak with victims’ families during ransom negotiations.
Presently, there are 224.7 million active mobile telephone lines in the country, according to the information released by the NCC on its website.
On Sunday, the ALTON Chairman did not give the breakdown of subscribers or SIMs that were deactivated by telcos over the weekend.
He said, “No, we currently don’t have the breakdown of disconnected lines per network right now, but I know over 40 million lines have been deactivated”.
Adebayo further hinted that another series of disconnections would be implemented by the end of the month and mid April.
“The second tier of disconnections that will happen are those who have provided NIN but have more than five Mobile Subscription Identification Numbers associated with their NIN, and these have not been verified.
“This is because some have differences in the order of their names, and some have differences in their date of birth. The information provided to the operator when they did the SIM registration is different from what they provided (to NIMC) when they did their NIN.

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Firm Launches New Radio Campaign For Product

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An oil and gas firm, 11 Plc, has launched a new jingle for its mobil super lubricants.
The firm in a statement recently indicated that it is the sole distributor of Mobil fuel and lubricant brands in Nigeria, noting that the radio campaign was aimed at making the brand Nigerian customers’ choice.
“The campaign, which hit the airwaves three weeks ago, was launched to create fresh awareness for all category users of the premium lubricants during the Easter and Ramadan period and beyond”, the statement said.
According to the firm, Mobil Superbrand is a global family of premium passenger vehicle engine oils that provides different levels of protection to match whatever conditions users of the products may encounter.
The company said its vision was to be the number one business group in Nigeria in terms of sustained service, quality and reliability and the first brand of preference by the consumers whilst conducting operations with high safety standards and environmental compliance.
It added that it aimed to provide the best in class products, services and solutions to customers with a focus on safety and environmental standards.

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Arik Air Explains Flight Cancellation In PH Airport

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Arik Airline has clarified that the incident that resulted in passengers getting stranded at Port Harcourt Airport last Tuesday was due to adverse weather conditions.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Public Relations Manager of the airline, Adebanji Ola.
Some passengers of the Arik Air had expressed frustration over being left stranded at Port Harcourt Airport after their flight to Lagos was abruptly cancelled.
The affected passengers, scheduled for the flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos State, got upset by the development, and took to social media platforms to express their grievances.
Nevertheless, the airline had in the statement, reiterated its commitment to safety, highlighting its strict policy to avoid flying in inclement weather conditions, which they said had necessitated the cancellation of the affected flight.
It extended its apologies to customers whose travel plans were disrupted by the unforeseen circumstances, reaffirming its dedication to prioritising passenger welfare.
“We are aware of a recent story circulated in social media alleging that passengers were left stranded at Port Harcourt Airport under our care. It is imperative that we provide clarity on this matter to rectify any misconceptions.
“In the evening of Tuesday, April 2, 2024, our flight W3 744 Lagos-Port Harcourt was compelled to make an air return due to adverse weather conditions, specifically heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in Port Harcourt.
“Consequently, both the Lagos-Port Harcourt (W3 744) and Port Harcourt-Lagos (W3 745) flights had to be cancelled.
“It is crucial to note that by the time of the cancellation, our banking facilities at the airport had ceased operations, rendering funds unfeasible at that moment.
“However, the passengers were promptly briefed on the situation and advised to return the following day for re-protection on available flights”, it stated.
The statement added that on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, all the affected passengers from both Lagos and Port Harcourt were successfully accommodated on available morning and evening flights.

Corlins Walter

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Settlement On Course For Redundancy Benefits – Aero Airline 

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The Aero Contractors Airline has affirmed  its commitment to clear the remaining five per cent of redundancy benefits owed its workers.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Captain Ado Sanusi, in a press release said the firm was intensifying efforts to address outstanding financial commitments.
He faulted the move by workers union, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), to issue a press statement, despite ongoing efforts to resolve the issue amicably.
“This should not be an opportunity for disharmony, dialogue is a process. There was a letter written, there was a process agreed upon, and all of a sudden they went to the press. We are ready to resolve the issue”, the CEO stated.
NAAPE had recently issued a letter threatening to go on a protest over non-payment of outstanding redundancy benefits to its members.
The group accused the management of Aero Contractors of depriving the affected former workers access to their entitled benefits.
The protest letter, addressed to the management of the airline, read in part: “Consequent upon the avalanche of complaints received from our members who have been deprived of their fundamental entitlements and denied the rightful collection of their redundancy benefits in the last seven years and given the anguish and mental agonies suffered by them, We are compelled, as responsible representatives of these eminent men/women, including the dead, to protest through this letter and express our bitterness over management’s seeming lackadaisical attitude, insincerity and insensitivity to the continued wellbeing of these great Nigerians”.
The Aero CEO, however, clarified that in the last seven years, the company has paid approximately 95 per cent of the redundancy benefits.
“We should be given credit because this management initiated the process of paying off redundancy. We want our prospective investors to understand that we are a very responsible company, and we take our obligations seriously, not only for staff but also in other areas.
“We update them on a day-to-day basis to ensure business continuity. It is a very tough environment in which we are operating”, he said.
Sanusi stressed the importance of maintaining transparency and communication with stakeholders throughout the process.
He said despite challenges posed by fluctuating exchange rates and fuel costs, Aero Contractors remained steadfast in its efforts to uphold its obligations and ensure business continuity.

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