The federal government through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given network operators in the country a December 30 deadline to block all SIM cards not registered with the National Identity Numbers (NIN).
This is as it directed them to make their subscribers provide their National Identity Numbers (NIN) to update their records within two weeks.
The National Identification Number (NIN) consists of 11 non-intelligible numbers randomly chosen and assigned to an individual by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) at the completion of enrolment into the National Identity Database (NIDB).
The NIN is used to tie all records about an individual in the database and is also used to establish or verify his/her identity.
The NCC ordered that the NIN update for SIM cards should be carried out between December 16, 2020 and 30th December, 2020.
The development was made known via a statement on Tuesday by the NCC Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde.
The statement noted that the directive follows an urgent stakeholders’ meeting convened on Monday, December 14 by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami which was attended by the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), as well as the CEOs and Management staff of all service providers in the industry.
At the meeting, “the need to consolidate the achievements of last year’s SIM registration audit and improve the performance and sanity of the sector was exhaustively discussed and all stakeholders agreed that urgent drastic measures have now become inevitable to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process.
To this end, the following decisions were taken for immediate implementation by all Network Operators:
i. Affirmation of the earlier directive to totally suspend registration of NEW SIMs by all operators.
ii.Operators to require ALL their subscribers to provide valid National Identification Number (NIN) to update SIM registration records.
iii.The submission of NIN by subscribers to take place within two weeks (from today December 16, 2020 and end by 30 December, 2020).
iv. After the deadline, ALL SIMs without NINs are to be blocked from the networks.
v. A Ministerial Task Force comprising the Minister and all the CEOs (among others) as members is to monitor compliance by all networks,” the statement noted.
It added that network operators that fall short of the directive will face “stiff sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license.”
The statement thereafter urged the general public “to ensure that their NINs are captured in their SIM registration data.”