Nigeria asks telecoms firms to block SIM without subscribers’ NIN
* Telcoms subscribers to update SIM records before Dec 31
* National Identification Number mandatory for SIM registration
* SIM without NIN will be blocked
By Oludare Mayowa
Nigeria has directed telecoms firms to ask all their existing subscribers to update their SIM registration records with valid National Identification Number (NIN) before the end of 2020 after which their SIM would be blocked.
In a statement on Tuesday, the industry regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said the decision to update records of existing subscribers was taken at a stakeholders’ meeting convened on Monday by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami.
According to the statement signed by Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC director of Public Affairs, the meeting affirmed the earlier directive to totally suspend the registration of NEW SIMs by all operators.
The meeting directed “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,” Adinde said in the statement.
The regulator said all stakeholders agreed that urgent drastic measures have now become inevitable to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process.
NCC said 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.
However, industry observers said the decision by stakeholders did not take cognisance of the challenges many Nigerians have been facing to register for the NIN.
According to official position, less than 60 percent of Nigerians have been captured by the NIN since inception due to logistic problems and inadequate staffing of the agency responsible for the national identity registration.