Pantami accuses Police, other security agencies of refusing to track kidnappers, bandits using NIN-SIM data

Isa Pantami, former Communication and Digital Economy minister, has accused the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and other security agencies of failing to use data from the National Identity Number (NIN) linked to the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) in tracking kidnappers and curbing other crimes involving the use of a phone.

Mr Pantami made the accusations on Sunday as kidnapping for ransom worsen and now occuring in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Three years ago, the minister had championed the NIN-SIM policy, forcing citizens to link their NIN and sim cards or be barred from making outgoing calls.

He insisted that data obtained from it initiative will aid security agencies in tracking down masterminds of insecurity across the nation.

Bashir Ahmad, a former media aide of his principal, on Sunday, in a post on X, called for “new legislation or the revision of current laws to mandate the death penalty as punishment for banditry and kidnapping.”

A netizen on the micro-blogging site, @RolandMentus, however, responded, “How about first reaching out to your kinsman @ProfIsaPantami to know why Nigerians queued up for months to secure NIN.”

In his response to Mr Mentus’ tweet, Mr Pantami accused security agencies of refusing to utilise the NIN-SIM policy which he initiated despite threat to his life by criminals who opposed it.

He said the policy has been working but failed to cite an instance where it was been used to achieve success.

“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. Lack of utilising it is the main problem, not the policy.” Mr Pantami said on X.

“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 life. This is just a point out of 100 on the policy,” the former minister added.

Despite the policy, kidnappers have continuously used phones to coordinate ransom-taking.

Olumuyiwa Adejobi and Onyeama Nwachukwu who are spokespersons of the Nigerian Police and Army respectively did not answer our request seeking their reactions.