Following text messages directing subscribers nationwide to visit its shops to update their SIMs registration, hundreds of angry subscribers on Thursday besieged MTN offices in Abuja for the exercise.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that although the subscribers, mostly workers and businessmen, have abandoned their duty posts for the registration, the exercise was very slow due to faulty machines or network problems.
In some of the centres where the exercise was ongoing, the numbers of machines used were insufficient compared to the crowd impatiently waiting for their turns.
NAN reports that some of the subscribers, who were at the outlets for the update, complained that they were registering their SIMs for the third or fourth times.
At MTN main office at Phase 4 in Kubwa, the road leading to the building was blocked by subscribers that besieged the building for the exercise as early as 8 a.m.
Only four machines were provided at MTN New Dawn shop, Mercy Plaza, Kubwa, in spite of the crowd at the premises.
“We registered only 50 lines on Wednesday due to inadequate number of machines coupled with epileptic network. We are expecting to register more today,’’ one of the officers who requested anonymity at the outlet said.
At MTN registration point, Phase 3, Kubwa, the only machines provided was faulty, while the crowd at the registration point at A Class Park, Wuse 2, was overwhelming.
The situation was not different at other registration centres in the Federal capital territory as many who expected smooth conduct of the exercise were frustrated leaving some with no option than to consider switching to other service providers if their SIMs are blocked.
The MTN had recently sent text messages to its subscribers, directing them to visit its outlets to update their SIMS to meet NCC standard.
“Dear customer, please visit any of the registration point near you from Dec. 26 with valid ID card to update your finger print and picture to NCC standard.
“You have been compensated with N20, 000 valid for 7 days. To activate, please visit any MTN registration outlet to update your biometrics. Dial *559*40# to check.
“Dear customer, this SMS gives you priority access to all MTN shops. Please display it at any MTN shops entrance for express service. Thank you,’’ some of the messages sent to subscribers read.
Mr Haruna Mohammed, one of the subscribers, observed that MTN had not made provision for the physically challenged, pregnant women and others in spite of their numerous messages sent out before the take off of the exercise.
“They should prepare well for the exercise. They should not expect people to spend the whole day waiting for registration,’’ another subscriber, Ibrahim Garba said.
NAN reports that MTN started another round of SIM cards registration in the country following a fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for having 1.5 million unregistered SIMs in its network.
NCC therefore imposed a fine of N1.04 trillion, which was reduced by 25 per cent to N780 billion due to series of appeal by MTN to the commission.
Mr Emmanuel Amalokue, a civil servant said that he was tired of registering his MTN SIM card every time, adding that this was his fifth time of registering his card.
“They are taking us for a ride as this cannot be done in their country. So why must we go through this so many times.
“I did it in Delta, Lagos and I have done it thrice here, should we continue like this, look at the time we are wasting here, we left all the things we are suppose to do to come here.
“We are tired and MTN should stop taking Nigeria for a ride,’’ he said.
Mr Patrick Omini, another subscriber said that he had not eaten anything and he had been on the queue for over three hours.
He said that he had registered his SIM card before and he got another alert to come for the registration, expressing concern over people in the remote villages who could not come out to register their SIMs.
Mr Isa Musa, another civil servant said he had been on the queue for over two hours trying to register but to no avail.
According to him, he took permission from his office to register his SIM card quickly only to discover that the queue was very long and the process overwhelming.
“I don’t know what MTN problem is I have registered this particular SIM twice before now and I still got a message to register it again.
“I have been on queue for hours now just to do that.’’
Mrs Mary Moses however said she was not bothered by the queue but interested in the N5, 000 compensation that MTN would give.
Mr Adeyinka Adeniyi, Trade Marketing Consultant, MTN Abuja, told NAN at the A Class Park, a mega registration centre, that the exercise was an NCC directive to get the data base of all MTN customers completed.
“Data capturing requires a level of quality, and If NCC tells us that we need to improve on our quality; we have to do it again.
“We need to follow rules and that is why we need to do it again.
“We will intensify effort to make the registration exercise completed and as short as possible in order to attend to all our customers before this month runs out.
“ As we have on our radio jingle, we have apologised many times that there is a bit of inconveniences and we are begging our customers to be patient with us
“They have been with us for a while and we are very sorry they should be patient for us to serve them better.
“ We have the compensation from N1, 000 air time to N20, 000 depending on the strength of their contributions.
Adeniyi said that MTN engineers were around to tackle any technical fault with their machines. (NAN)