A statement released yesterday by the ministry said the minister released Mgonja from his duties for failing to avail to residents some 14,493 NINs that were processed by NIDA headquarters and forwarded to his office in Songea town since the 31st of December.
The minister also sent packing the NIDA district officer for Namtumbo in the region, Thobias Nangalaba for failing to attend his meeting with regional and district officials despite having been notified. The minister accused Nangalaba of laxity in the distribution of NIN in the district.
Speaking at a public meeting at Songea municipality’s main market, Lugola said the two officers had to go because they did not take seriously their duties and undermined government work.
“The two officers have been going against the government directive to urgently enable residents register their phone lines biometrically. They are not fit to be in office and should give space to others to serve,” the minister intoned.
“It is not acceptable that the NIDA regional officer plays around with the people by not distributng the numbers to enable them register their phone lines while aware that the deadline is 20th of this month.”
Meanwhile, the minister tasked the regional Immigration Office to work day and night in collaboration with the police to nab illegal immigrants living in towns near the border with Mozambique.
“I appeal to members of the public to tip off relevant authorities about illegal immigrants so that they are apprehended as they engage in criminal activities,” he said.
He said the police force had succeeded in thwarting serious crimes in the country, as only pockets of petty crimes remain that will also be eradicated.
“There are no more serious crimes; armed robberies have gone silent so we are now dealing with only small issues,” he declared.
Last month, President John Magufuli announced an extension of the deadline for biometric registration of simcards by 20 days, pushing back the December 31st deadline.
The president had just registered his simcard at his home place in Chato, Geita region, where he said he had granted more days to facilitate registration where circumstances had proved difficult.
He cautioned that after January 20 there will be no further extension, with the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) going ahead to switch off simcards not registered biometrically.
It wasn’t clear how many of the more than 20m simcards not yet registered by December15th had been registered subsequently or after the latest extension.