Subscribers Besiege MTN Offices Over Failed Registration | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Subscribers Besiege MTN Offices Over Failed Registration

Posted: Sep 7, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Oladele Ogunsola Ibadan

Millions of MTN subscribers have continued to count their losses as the telecoms service provider had yet to reactivate their lines and had thus locked them out, denying them communication with business partners, friends and relations.   

MTN subscribers waiting to verify their SIM registration

MTN subscribers waiting to verify their SIM registration

In the last few weeks, MTN has been sending out messages, urging subscribers to visit any of their service centres with photo identification to verify the registration of their SIM cards to avoid disconnection.

In such messages it stated: “Dear customer, please visit an MTN shop immediately with a valid photo ID to verify your SIM registration. Thank you for choosing MTN.”

The messages asking subscribers to re-register their SIM is coming after two previous exercises. It has also created confusion as some subscribers have had their telephone lines blocked, leaving them incommunicado.

It would be recalled that two years ago, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had directed a compilation of a database of GSM subscribers in the country.

The exercise had seen the NCC and the telecommunications service providers to conduct separate registration exercise for the purpose.

Although subscribers are eager to verify the registration of their SIMs, a visit to some of the MTN service centres revealed that subscribers have been going through hell in their efforts to confirm the registration of their Sim.

At Ojodu- Berger office of MTN in Lagos, large crowd of subscribers remained unattended to.

Many of the subscribers said that they had been on the re-registration exercise for several days without success.

They complained that all they had been able to do was to collect the leaflets distributed by security men at the gate of the office, which they were asked to fill and return with a photocopy of their identity card.

A copy of the form obtained by our correspondent showed that the information requested included: name of the subscriber, mother’s maiden name, date of birth, gender, marital status, contact address, state of origin, residential address, local government area,  and occupation.

Incidentally these are exactly the same information requested at the two previous exercises.

At the MTN main office in Ibadan, situated at Mobil Bus Stop, along MKO Abiola Way (former Ring Road) millions of subscribers who come out on Thursday to “verify” their SIM registrations as requested by MTN protested their dissatisfaction over the provider’s registration exercise.

Some of the subscribers in separate interviews frowned at the mode at which the registration exercise was being carried out by MTN, describing it as “inhuman and lack of regards for its customers”.

One of the subscribers, Pius Oluawadare told our reporter that he was at the MTN office based on the message sent to him to come and complete the mobile registration, recalling that he had visited the MTN office four times and had not been able to register the same line, despite his efforts.

According to him, “the last time I came to the MTN office, I ran away because I met mobile policemen there and felt there was no reason to endanger my life. I don’t think there is any justification for what we are witnessing here. If it is a directive of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), then the telecom providers should have increased the numbers of staff to attend to customers for an easy exercise.

“I bought this line N60, 000, the first week the telecom provider began services in Nigeria and I have been recharging the line since then. So, why will they be treating me like a job applicant at their entrance here?

“And considering my profession and holding up here is a calamitous situation because I don’t know what will happen to my patients while standing here,” he said.

Similarly, Gbenga Opadotun, the Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council told  journalists at the MTN office that the situation was unfortunate and disheartening, calling on appropriate authorities to call MTN to order

He said, “I got a text message from MTN this morning for registration of my SIM card and on getting here I met over 1,000 people waiting redundantly and helplessly, with no one to attend to them.

“MTN is a South African company and doing such to Nigerians is unfortunate and disheartening. We are customers, who patronize them and pay hugely. I feel very sad and would like to tell the appropriate authorities to call MTN to order. We are their customers and should be treated with respect and dignity”, the Oyo NUJ boss said.

Other subscribers lamented that MTN was panelising subscribers for their own shortcomings. Some of them said that the telecom provider had been selling pre registered SIM cards, noting that many of the SIM cards sold at bus stops had been pre registered thus there was no way to know who the users are.

Meanwhile, all efforts to speak with any of the MTN officials both at the Ojodu Berger and MKO Abiola Way, Ibadan offices in Lagos and Ibadan respectively proved abortive as none of them was willing to make comment on the situation.

A source at the NCC headquarters disclosed that NCC gave the directive to telecom subscribers on noticing that some subscribers had not registered their lines with a threat to fine any of the telecom companies still parading unregistered subscribers but with active SIM cards to the tune of N200, 000.

However, some aggrieved subscribers blamed MTN, saying the service provider was selling pre registered SIM cards.