The Arewa Telecom Operators Agents and Simcard Dealers Association has alleged that over two million Nigerian youths have been rendered jobless by the recent suspension of the SIM card registration and activation by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
The association made the claim while addressing journalists in Kaduna on Monday.
The telecoms operators said they were aware of the Nigerian government’s intention to address security challenges through linkage of National Identity Number (NIN) with mobile numbers and suspension of registration of new SIM cards.
They, however, feared that rendering two million youths jobless might worsen the security challenges.
Speaking on behalf of the dealers, the association President, Hassan Yakubu said, "As a registered association under the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with registration number CAC/IT/NO131761 and with the Nigeria Communications Commission volume number as NCC/CAB/2019/VOL.1/011, we are fully in support of the Nigerian government’ measures to protect the lives and property of the citizenry."
He, however, observed that the Nigerian government must tread carefully, considering that all available research works on the causes of insecurity across the country had been linked primarily to youth unemployment.
He stated that the income of telecoms business partners, staff and agents, the majority of whom are within the age bracket of 20 to 40 years in the value chain, is determined by the number of activations and SIM registrations carried out within the month.
Yakubu said, “The suspension of SIM card registration may trigger another worse form of insecurity, especially in zones most affected by the insecurity.
"In fact, the growth in the telecoms sector is determined by the very sub-sector that was suspended and the much celebrated 17 per cent contribution by the telecoms sector on the Gross Domestic Product was as a result of the activities of the sub-sector under suspension.
“We therefore wish to advise that the Nigerian Government can still achieve the desired result as well as avoid creating more problems in an attempt to solve a problem if the suspension is reversed immediately to avoid the danger the suspension may expose the youths to.”