The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has said people in the opposition who are making a lot of noise about insecurity are trying to blackmail the administration of President Muhammadu Buhar, while vowing that they will not succeed.
Pantami added that for him, banditry and kidnapping had reduced from 2019 till now, going by the steps his ministry took in raking in unregistered SIM cards and enforcing that only registered sims were in circulation.
The minister said it was clear that some people in the opposition were drumming up the insecurity to “bring down the government of the All Progressives Congress and we will bring them to book Insha Allah.”
He made the claims, on Thursday, while featuring on the APC stewardship programme, organised by the APC Professionals Forum.
Pantami said it was the initiative of his Ministry as a regulator that ensured that the National Communications Commission issued a directive to telecommunication operators to make registration of SIM cards mandatory for end users.
He said, “Security cannot be ignored. Security cannot be compromised because of economic development. We have come up with so many policies in order to support security institutions.
“When I was assigned to supervise the sector on 24 August 2019, unregistered, and partial registered SIMs were being used to perpetuate crime in the country.
“Nobody knew the total register of unregistered sims. Within less than 15 days in the office, we have engaged the NCC as a regulator. We have directed them to carry audit exercise to enable them to come up with unregistered and partially registered sims. They came with around 9.4 million which is enough to populate another country. It was the first time, we didn’t know the total of unregistered sims in the country.
“And we went further to direct NCC, to ensure that by 25th September 2019, that is only one month few days in office, I spent there to ensure that by end of September 2021, no sim that is not registered will be on our network. NCC as a regulator implemented that effectively.”
He accused the opposition parties of hyping the narrative on insecurity to paint the APC-led administration in a bad light.
“President Muhammadu will be judged by security and other achievements but the issue of security is not going to be an artificial security situation in Nigeria.
“I want to explain this very well. Those who are trying to take down President Muhammadu Buhari through the back door will not succeed – you are hyping up for people to know that there is insecurity to bring down the government of APC and we will bring them to book Insha Allah.
“And I hope Nigerians and the media will pay attention to the minister, not taking a biased position but by empirical facts from the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, because it seems that people are now paying attention to blackmail in the social media,” the minister said.