NIN-SIM: 72 million subscribers barred from making calls

Over 72.77 million active telecommunication subscribers have been barred from making calls on their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards, following a directive from the Federal Government to telecommunication companies.

On Monday, the Federal Government ordered telcos to enforce compliance with its National Identification Number (NIN)-SIM policy, by restricting outgoing calls on all unlinked lines as the deadline for the verification expired on March, 31.

This directive was contained in a joint statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, and the Head, Corporate Communications at the Nigeria Identity Management Commission, (NIMC), Kayode Adegoke.

According to the statement, 125 million SIMs have submitted their NINs for linkage, while over 78 million unique NINs have been issued. It said the deadline for the NIN-SIM linkage had been extended on multiple occasions to allow Nigerians to comply with the policy.

The Federal Government added that subscribers yet to link their SIMs to their NINs should do so before their lines are completely restricted.

According to the NCC, there were 197.77 million active telecom subscribers as of February 2022. 125 million subscribers have submitted their NINs for verification, leaving 72.77 million subscribers on the receiving end of the Federal Government’s new directive.

A source in one of the telecom companies said the affected subscribers would still be able to receive calls, send and receive text messages, and use the Internet, in the meantime. The source added that telcos had begun to comply with the directive.

However, the President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, described the move by the Federal Government as premature.

According to him, the verification exercise needs time before the policy can be implemented.

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