SIM-NIN LINKAGE: After Many Deadlines, 73m Unlinked Subscribers Barred From Making Calls

Written by on April 5, 2022

A total of 73 million active mobile lines in Nigeria will not be making calls from today.

This follows the federal government’s directive to telecommunications companies to restrict outgoing calls on unlinked mobile lines following the expiration of the extension for the integration of the National Identification Number (NIN) and the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) on March 31, 2022.

The directive was contained in a joint statement issued yesterday by the director of public affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, and the head of Corporate Communications of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Kayode Olagoke. They said the directive took effect from midnight on Monday, April 4.

According to the statement, the minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Ali Pantami, reported that during the exercise over 125 million SIM cards had so far had their NINs submitted for immediate linkage, verification and authentication. Similarly, NIMC had issued over 78 million unique NINs till date.

As of the end of February 2022, active GSM lines hit 197, 768, 482; total active lines were 198, 123, 431, while the total number of connected GSM lines stood at 303,636, 267 according to data from the NCC.

President Muhammadu Buhari had given the directive for the implementation and commencement of the exercise in December 2020 as part of the administration’s security and social policies. The deadlines for the SIM-NIN linkage had been extended on multiple occasions to allow Nigerians and legal residents to freely comply with the Policy.

Meanwhile the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has issued a statement confirming that they received formal instructions from the NCC to bar out-going calls on subscriber lines that are not in compliance with the SIM-NIN linkage policy.

ALTON chairman said ALTON members would comply with the instructions even as he called on telecommunication subscribers who had not obtained and linked a NINs to their SIMs to do so at any of the designated centres.

In a related development, the NCC has strongly warned telecoms subscribers to ensure they do not allow their NINs to be linked to another person’s SIM cards, no matter how close the person is to them.

The NCC gave the warning during a radio programme on ‘the Benefits of SIM-NIN Integration’ recently.

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