The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described as unlawful and unacceptable the decision by the National Communications Authority (NCA) to bar all outgoing calls and data services of Ghanaians who have not re-registered their SIM cards.
It said the decision was not backed by any law of the land, including the SIM Registration Regulations, 2011 (L.I 2006) and the National Identity Register Regulations, 2012 (L.I 2111).
A statement issued by Mr Johnson Aseidu Nketia, the General Secretary of the Party, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, in Accra, on Saturday, said it had observed with great concern the new wave of challenges that had bedeviled the ongoing mobile SIM re-registration exercise.
The Party said it noted with utter dismay that right from the time that Government, through the Ministry of Communications, decided to undertake a re-registration of mobile SIM cards of Ghanaians sometime in 2021, the exercise had been fraught with chaos and arbitrariness.
“We are appalled that this objectionable impunity has reached an alarming point where the mobile SIM cards of innocent Ghanaians, including those who have already undertaken the said re-registration are being restricted, thereby rendering many of our citizens incommunicado, helpless and frustrated,” the statement added.
It, therefore, condemned the decision to restrict SIM cards of Ghanaians describing it as “arbitrariness and recklessness” on the part of the Ministry of Communications and the NCA.
“It is an indisputable fact that the re-registration of mobile SIM cards policy and its attendant sanctions that are being meted out to Ghanaians by the Ministry of Communications and the National Communications Authority are neither backed by the SIM Registration Regulations, 2011 (L.I 2006) nor the National Identity Register Regulations, 2012 (L.I 2111) or any law in force in the country,” part of the statement read.
It added that: “The decision by these entities to restrict the SIM Cards of Ghanaians, including those who have already re-registered their SIM Cards is, therefore, unlawful, irresponsible and unacceptable to say the least.”
The NCA, on Monday, September 5, 2022, introduced a raft of punitive measures, including barring of all outgoing calls and data services for two days against mobile users who have failed to re-register their SIM cards as directed by the Ministry of Communications and the NCA.
The statement called on Parliament, particularly the Parliamentary Select Committee on Communications to exercise its oversight responsibility by calling the two entities in charge of the exercise (Ministry of Communications and the NCA) to order.
It also commended and encouraged legal actions filed by citizens who had been affected by the restrictions.
“We hold the view that this simple exercise of linking SIM Cards to the Ghana card of subscribers to check crime among others, could have been easily done by extracting the biometric data of persons who have registered for the Ghana card from the National Identification Authority and matching same with the database of the Telecos,” it said.