A group of aggrieved Ghanaians who claim they are being penalized unfairly over the non-registration of their SIM cards are gearing up to file a class action lawsuit against the telecoms operators and the National Communications Authority (NCA).
The group, led by Vice President of IMANI Ghana, Selorm Branttie are current collecting signatories and details of aggrieved persons for their intended class action.
In a Facebook post, Selorm wrote “if you have been affected in anyway by the SIM Registration process and you are interested in being part of the class action lawsuit, please fill this form with your details. We are looking for as many claimants as possible to send a clear message.”
The message comes with a Google Form, which interested persons can fill in their details and join the claimants.
This comes on the heels of several phone users in Ghana having their outgoing calls blocked by telcos on the directive of the NCA as part of punitive measures for persons who have not registered their SIM cards.
The sanctions were originally due to start on Monday, September 5, but it was actually from Wednesday, September 7 that people started experiencing and reporting challenges due to the sanctions.
The sanctions are in phases, beginning with a 48-hour per week blocking of outgoing calls between now and September 12, then data services will also be blocked for same periods, and then after September 30, the entire SIM will be blocked.
Those earmarked to be affected are persons who have not registered their SIM cards at all – and those who have linked their Ghana Card to their SIM cards but are yet to go to their service provider and do the biometric data capture to complete the process.
But a number of people have since reported that they have done both the Ghana Card linkage and the biometric data capture, and yet their calls are being blocked.
An example is Collin Safo, who made a post on Facebook showing that his confirmation details actually read “B-Cap -Yes”, meaning his SIM card is completely registered and yet his outgoing calls are being blocked.
Several other persons claim they have had their biometric data captured by their respective service providers, but they are now getting feedback indicating otherwise, so their calls are being blocked.
The third group of people who think the system is treating them unfairly are those who have actually registered with the National Identification Authority (NIA) for their Ghana Card, but the NIA is yet to deliver the Ghana Cards for them to go and register their SIM cards.
An example is one lady who wrote on Facebook that she registered with NIA in July and was asked to come for her Ghana Card on November 7, and yet the SIM registration deadline is September 30, meaning through no fault of hers, she is now being penalized.
There is even a viral video of a Taxi Driver who has stripped naked and was seen pouring libation and reciting some incantations. He was said to be raining curses on a particular telco for blocking his calls through no fault of his.
Meanwhile, loads of aggrieved persons who marched to the various registrations centers to get their issues resolved also got stranded as the NCA’s sole registration app was said to have broken down.
Some industry watchers have said the the NCA and indeed government needs to do the hard work and do a proper segregation of the all categories of SIM card holders to ensure that people are no penalized arbitrarily through no fault of their.
But it appears the NCA, under the influence of the Ministry of Communications and Digitalization is driven more by emotions than data to apply sanction wholesale to holders of all SIM cards which are unregistered or partially registered.
The architects of the forthcoming class action believe their action will put the issues in their proper perspective and guide the stakeholders to do the right thing.