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FG Orders Telcos to Block SIM Cards without NIN

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has directed telecommunications operators to block all SIM cards not registered with National Identification Numbers (NIN) by the end of 2020.

This was the fallout of the meeting of key stakeholders in the communications industry presided over by Dr Isa Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, on Tuesday.

At the meeting had in attendance the chief executive officers and management of the NCC and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

Others include the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), as well as the CEOs and management staff of all service providers in the industry.

Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, director, Public Affairs, NCC, said in a statement that the meeting was convened following the earlier directive on the suspension of new SIM registration by network operators.

He mentioned they discussed the need to consolidate the achievements of last year’s SIM registration audit to help improve the performance and sanity of the sector.

The NCC said stakeholders agreed that urgent drastic measures had now become inevitable to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process.

It said: “Operators are to require all their subscribers to provide valid National Identification Number 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.”

The NCC stated that a ministerial task force comprising the minister and all the CEOs (among others) would serve as members 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 commission stated.

It urged the general public to ensure that their NINs were captured in their SIM registration data, adding that all inconveniences which might be occasioned by this directive were deeply regretted.

Recall that the NCC had last week ordered the suspension of new SIM card registration while it conducted an audit of cards already registered by networks operators.

The NIN is issued by the NIMC upon enrolment into the National Identity Database and is used to capture an individual’s records.

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