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NCC clarifies reasons behind SIM bar for some Nigerian telecom subscribers

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Monday addressed the concerns surrounding the barring of some telecommunications subscribers whose SIM cards were previously linked to their National Identification Numbers (NINs).

NCC spokesperson, Reuben Muoka, shed light on the issue, stating that individuals experiencing mobile line restrictions likely faced challenges due to unverified or unclear NIN submissions.

He explained that discrepancies in information, such as disparities in names and other data, contributed to the verification and identification issues.

Muoka, who spoke on Channels Television , emphasized that certain subscribers still await NIN verification by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), and corrective measures need to be taken for those with discrepancies in their information.

Addressing subscriber concerns about prior NIN submissions, Muoka clarified that some lines were barred because the information on the NIN did not align with the details registered with the SIM cards.

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He advised affected individuals to physically visit their service providers’ outlets to validate their NINs and address any outstanding issues.

While acknowledging the inconvenience of physical visits, Muoka hinted at the potential for virtual solutions in the future. He stated, “For now, it requires those physical visits to the stations to get it verified and validated, but in the future, we hope that this will be done virtually.”

Last week, the NCC issued a directive to telecom service providers to bar subscribers who failed to link their phone numbers to their NIN by February 28, 2024. Muoka noted that the NCC had extended deadlines since 2022 for convenience but emphasized the need to bring the process to a close.

As of December 2023, Nigeria had over 224 million mobile subscribers. MTN, with over 87 million subscribers, held the highest market share at 38.79%, followed by Globacom and Airtel with 61 million subscribers each, while 9mobile had 13.9 million users.

Muoka acknowledged that the NIN-SIM linkage aims to provide a digital identity to tackle security matters and streamline digital services for convenience.

The NCC plans to conduct an audit to determine the number of barred phone lines before the end of the week, gathering data from service providers.

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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