The federal government of Nigeria through the Nigeria Communications Commission released a statement on their websites that all Sim cards linked to NIN (National Identification numbers) on or before the 30th of December, 2020.
As indicated in the press release the exercise should be completed in two weeks from the 16th of December to the 30th of December, 2020, or face sanctions.
It is therefore advisable for all mobile phone users to comply with the regulations of the NCC and get the Sim cards linked to NIN Numbers ASAP or get their lines blocked.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy with over 196 million active phone lines as of June 2020 from the NCC data.
As of June, about 41.5 million Nigerians had the required national identity numbers from the data on the website of the National Identity Management Commission, which is in charge of registrations.
The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria supports the decision of the Nigeria Communications Commission regulator’s plan but wants the deadline to be extended for proper implementation, said Ike Nnamani, the president of the industry lobby group.
The Nigerian lawmakers have added their voice to the Association of telecommunications companies and passed a resolution on Wednesday advising the NCC to extend the deadline by 10 weeks.
“We feel it’s the right thing to do, but it has to be done the right way so there is no disruption to the way of life of the citizens,” Nnamani said.
It is believed that the deadline may be extended by as much as six months, which is enough time frame for the citizens to implement the plan, said Tajudeen Ibrahim, an analyst at Chapel Hill Denham in Lagos.
In clamping down on the use of unregistered lines, the NCC in 2015 fined MTN for failing to disconnect undocumented SIM cards as part of a security crackdown.
The matter was resolved a year later when the company paid 330 billion Naira ($859 million) after extensive negotiations.
Telecommunications is one of Nigeria’s fastest-growing industries. It expanded 17% in the third quarter, according to statistics office data.
Here is the copied press release as published on the website of the Nigeria communications Commission below.
Following the earlier directive on the suspension of new SIM registration by network operators, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) convened an urgent meeting of key stakeholders in the Communications industry on Monday, December 14, 2020.
The meeting had in attendance 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:
- Affirmation of the earlier directive to totally suspend registration of NEW SIMs by all operators.
- Operators to require ALL their subscribers to provide valid National Identification Number (NIN) to update SIM registration records.
- The submission of NIN by subscribers to take place within two weeks (from today December 16, 2020 and end by 30 December 2020).
- After the deadline, ALL SIMs without NINs are to be blocked from the networks.
- A Ministerial Task Force comprising the Minister and all the CEOs (among others) as members is to monitor compliance by all networks.
- Violations of this directive will be met by stiff sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license.
The general public is hereby urged to ensure that their NINs are captured in their SIM registration data.
All inconveniences which might be occasioned by this directive are deeply regretted.
Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde
Director, Public Affairs
December 15, 2020