Why Kidnappers Still Negotiate Ransom Through Phone Despite NIN-SIM Linking – Pantami


Alt: = "Professor Isa Pantami"

Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, has given an explanation to why kidnappers and terrorists still contact the families of their victims and negotiate for ransom using phone calls despite NIN-SIM linking and blocking of phone numbers not yet linked.

The Minister who gave the explanation during the World National Identity Day celebration held in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, also reeled out some significant gains recorded since the linking of sim cards with the National Indentation Number, NIN exercise started.

According to him, there has been notable reduction in the number of calls by fraudsters to unsuspecting phone users.

Professor Pantami, represented by the Director of Research and Development at the National Information Technology Development Agency, Dr Collins Agu, said that such innovation can not wipe out crime overnight, stating that it is a gradual process.

According to him the public outcry that greeted the blocking of unregistered sim cards slowed down efforts toward sanitising the telecom system.

His words:”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.”

"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.”

Dr Agu maintained that the Minister brought a lot of innovation in the Information Technology ICT, 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 said one of the achievements was that “he (the Minister) 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”, which was aimed at enhancing the agency’s productivity.

He applauded  Abia State for taking the lead in the NIMC eco-system and assured the assistance of the federal government to 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.”

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