The former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has blamed the recent surge in kidnappings and killings in the country on the failure of security agencies to use the National Identity Number (NIN) linked to Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) data to combat crime.
Recall that former president Muhammadu Buhari had issued a directive mandating the linking of SIM cards to the NIN of every citizen.
In a recent tweet, the media aide to President Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, had raised the alarm on the ongoing surge in kidnappings for ransom, calling for new legislation or the revision of existing laws to enforce the death penalty as punishment for banditry and kidnapping.
Reacting to Ahmad’s tweet, Pantami blamed security agencies for not utilising the NIN-SIM data to tackle rising kidnapping for ransom and banditry.
“NIN-SIM policy has been working. However, the relevant institutions fighting criminality are to be requested to ensure they utilise it effectively when a crime is committed,” Pantami said.
“Lack of utilising it is the main problem, not the policy. On the lack of utilisation, I am more worried than anyone, as my life was threatened by criminals for reintroducing it, including on BBC Hausa and national dailies; I resisted and ensured its implementation.
“If it is not being utilised by the relevant institutions in charge of securing lives and property, then I am more frustrated than any person, as I sacrificed my life and ignored all the threats to my life. This is just a point out of 100 on the policy,” the former minister added.
Pantami spearheaded the NIN registration policy under Buhari’s administration.
The former minister vowed that linking citizens’ NIN to their SIMs would be a crucial tool in combating banditry, kidnapping, and phone-related crimes.