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Isa Pantami calls lost subscribers criminals, as 14m Nigerians dump MTN, Glo others



In ten months, the telecommunications industry lost 14 million internet subscribers, and the Minister of Communications, Isa Pantami, has attributed this to criminal activities.

The Nigerian telecoms market, which comprises of major telcos like MTN Nigeria, Glo, Airtel and 9mobile, had been losing subscribers according to industry data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

As of October 2021, it was gathered that the industry’s subscriber base fell to 140.34 million, against the 154.88 million of November 2020, which was driven by lockdown and work-from-home measure by companies induced by COVID-19 outbreak.

While speaking on the decline in subscriber base at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, Pantami said the lost subscribers are criminals.

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“The over 12 million that have dropped are mostly criminals that cannot come out to regularise their numbers.” Pantami, who also doubles as the minister of digital economy, said.

He stated that the implementation of the national identification numbers (NINs) for new subscribers had played a role in the loss, an opinion similar to that previously made by the Federal Government.

“The NIN will cover one of the weaknesses in our security structure. We will be able to easily identify and know the personality of Nigerians,” adding that “We will identify people easily, including the crooks”, he said.

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