Isa Pantami explain why kidnappers still demand ransoms via phone calls despite NIN, SIM card links

Isa Pantami explain why kidnappers still demand ransoms via phone calls despite NIN, SIM card links

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has explained why kidnappers still demand ransom through phone calls despite the fact that Nigerians have been made to link their National Identity Number (NIN) with their mobile phone SIM cards.

Pantami, while speaking during the World National Identity Day celebration, said that kidnappers and terrorists still negotiate for ransom using phone calls, because innovation to wipe out evil does not happen overnight as it takes a gradual process.

The Minister however emphasised that significant gains had been recorded since the linking of SIM cards with the NIN started.

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According to him, since the exercise commenced, there had been a notable drop in the number of calls by fraudsters to unsuspecting phone users.

Vanguard quoted Pantami as saying that “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.”

The minister who was represented by the Director of Research and Development at the National Information Technology Development Agency, Dr. Collins Agu, regretted the public outcry that greeted the blocking of unregistered sim cards slowed down efforts toward sanitising the telecom system.

He said, “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.”

He insisted that he had 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 Identity Management Commission) tripled. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, ICT contributed 18.7% of our Gross Domestic Product, GDP,” he said.

Pantami further explained why he removed NIMC from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, saying it was to enhance its productivity.

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