By Ifeoma Ofurum
An unprecedented human traffic has persisted for two weeks at the Wethedral Road, Owerri office of the Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) as phone subscribers scramble to revalidate their lines to avoid being disconnected.
The difficulty and bottlenecks in the process have prompted public outcry and calls for the re-registration to be decentralized and, by any means, made easy for the subscribers.
The surging crowd is known to have continued to disrupt the flow of traffic on Wethedral Road since the service providers began to bombard subscribers with text messages threatening to cut their lines if they did not comply with the re-registration order said to be from the National Communications Commission (NCC).
The NCC directive was said to have affected other service providers such as Globacom Nigeria Ltd, Airtel and Etisalat.
However, less crowd was noticed at the offices of the three other networks, also located on Wethedral Road, Owerri, Imo State.
Our reporter who visited the MTN office stated that the subscribers were made to produce voters’ cards and to fill a form that is provided at their office.
One of the customers in the uncontrollable crowd said that she had been visiting the MTN office since three days, leaving her business, yet she had not succeeded in the registration as her line which had been cut off.
“My line has been blocked and I can’t make or receive calls let alone send text messages. How do I communicate with my customers?”, she lamented.
Another middle-aged man who sat on a bench across the road, waiting for his turn wondered what happened to the former system whereby agencies were allowed to carry out the registration process.
He asked if there was no other easier way of doing it to save the people from the present trauma and appealed to the NCC not to be hard on the phone companies and to extend the deadline to accommodate all.
One of the text messages read: “Dear customer, please visit an MTN shop immediately with a valid photo ID to verify your Sim registration. Thank you for choosing MTN”.
An MTN customer care attendant who spoke to Christian Voice said NCC requests detailed information of those whose biometric data or passports were not properly captured, noting that when they re-registered, they will be notified through text messages.