May 30, 2024
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April 4, 2022

FG orders telcos to bar unlinked SIMs from today

By Upfrontdigital News 0 330 Views

 

By Adeyemi Adepetun

THE Federal Government has ordered telecoms operators to bar outgoing calls on all unlinked Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards in the country.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isah Pantami gave the directive on Monday.

Recall that the deadline handed Nigerians to link their National Identification Number (NIN) to their SIMs ended on March 31, after about eight times of postponing it.

In last minute push for the linkage, the FG had on Friday directed Nigerians to ensure they complete the verification and linkage of their NINs to their SIMs within days.

As such, today (Monday) in a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ike Adinde and Head, Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Kayode Adegoke, said Pantami commended Nigerians and Legal Residents for their support during the exercise to link the NIN to the SIM.

According to FG, as of date, over 125 million SIMs have had their NINs submitted for immediate linkage, verification and authentication. Similarly, the NIMC has issued over 78 Million unique NINs till date.

The statement informed that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the implementation of the Policy with effect from the April 4th, 2022.

Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all telcos to strictly enforce the policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria.

“Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage Policy from the April 4th, 2022. Subscribers of such lines are hereby advised to link their SIMs to their NINs before the telcos can lift the restriction on their lines. Affected individuals are hereby advised to register for their NINs at designated centers and thereafter link the NINs to their SIMs through the channels provided by NIMC and the telcos, including the NIMC mobile App.

Recall that President Buhari gave 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 NIN-SIM linkage has been extended on multiple occasions to allow Nigerians to freely comply with the Policy.

The FG also took into consideration the passionate appeals by several bodies- Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Civil Societies, Professional Bodies and a host of others – for the extension of the deadlines in the past.

Accordingly, Mr. President graciously approved the many requests to extend deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage. At this point however, the statement noted that government has determined that the NIN-SIM Policy implementation can proceed, as machinery has already been put in place to ensure compliance by citizens and legal residents.

According to it, the implementation impacts on government’s strategic planning, particularly in the areas of security and socio-economic projections.

Minister Pantami

“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the implementation of the Policy with effect from April 4, 2022. Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all telcos to strictly enforce the Policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria. Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage Policy from the April 4, 2022.

“Subscribers of such lines are hereby advised to link their SIMs to their NINs before the telcos can lift the restriction on their lines. Affected individuals are hereby advised to register for their NINs at designated centers and thereafter link the NINs to their SIMs through the channels provided by NIMC and the telcos, including the NIMC mobile App,” the statement reads.

Pantami specially appreciated President Buhari for his tremendous support.  He also commended the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Dambatta, the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Abubakar Aziz along with their Management and Staff, as well as other notable bodies whose efforts have seen to the monumental success of the exercise. The Minister also extends his thanks to the telecommunication operators for their support towards the success recorded.

The minister also emphasized that enrolment for the NIN is a continuous exercise and NIN is a precondition for service in telcos, banks, Nigerian Immigration Service, and for several other government services. He also encouraged Nigerians and legal residents to visit NIN registration centers for the enrollment and issuance of valid NINs.

 

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