Uganda: 11 Million SIM Cards Validated As Deadline Looms

Uganda: 11 Million SIM Cards Validated As Deadline Looms

11.36 million SIM cards have so far been verified by the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) ever since the exercise began a fortnight ago.

On April 11, following assassination of police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi, government directed that all SIM cards be validated using the citizens’ National Identification Numbers (NIN). Foreigners were required to verify their SIM cards using passports.

Updating journalists today about how far the exercise has reached, Clet Turiho, the director Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) at NIRA revealed that they had verified 11.36 million SIM cards. These were part of the 13 million submitted by the telecom companies.

“Of the 13 million registered numbers we got from telephone companies, we have verified 11.36million SIM cards,” Turiho said on Monday at the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) offices.

Commenting on instances where people register SIM cards using different identities, Godfrey Mutabaazi, the UCC executive director, said they would easily be traced and apprehended using sophisticated technology. During registration, the applicants’ biometrics and facial features are captured, authorities will majorly base on these to trace impersonators.

“Whatever crime is being committed now it should be cleaned up because in a couple of days, that will be identified. You cannot keep deceiving NIRA for long because this technology is available to trace all these issues and other technologies are coming,” said Mutabaazi.

Adding: “We shall get you because there is technology to do that. If you have bypassed the system. You will be captured during the sieving period.”

After May 19, NIRA will embark on another verification phase to match all submissions.

No extension

After public outcry that the required validation period of one week be extended, government succumbed to pressure and obliged. Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the prime minister, ordered the deadline be extended for one month to May 19, to allow all people to validate their information.

However, this time round, an extension is unlikely to take place since there has been positive response from mobile users. Henry Tumukunde, the Security minister, emphasised that there would not be an extension of the validation dates. He urged all SIM card owners to verify them before they are disconnected.

“Ugandans want things to be done the Ugandan way but we are not doing that this time.”

Source: The Observer