The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given telecoms two weeks to block SIM cards that are not registered with the National Identity Numbers (NIN) issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) on Tuesday.
It cautioned telecoms operators that non-compliance with the directive will lead to withdrawal of its licence or heavy penalty.
The NCC had earlier ordered the suspension of new SIM registration by operators to allow auditing of duly registered SIM cards.
Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Ikechukwu Adinde, in a statement, revealed, “Following the earlier directive on the suspension of new SIM registration by network operators, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) convened an urgent meeting of key stakeholders in the Communications industry on Monday, December 14, 2020.”
He stated that the meeting was attended by the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the NIMC, as well as the CEOs and management staff of all service providers in the industry.
He noted that the committee examined “the need to consolidate the achievements of last year’s SIM registration audit and improve the performance and sanity of the sector was exhaustively discussed”.
The director added that “stakeholders agreed that urgent drastic measures have now become inevitable to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process”.
He stated, “following decisions were taken for im-mediate implementation by all network operators: affirmation of the earlier directive to totally suspend registration of new SIMs by all operators; operators to require all their subscribers to provide valid 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’’.
“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; the general public is hereby urged to ensure that their NINs are captured in their SIM registration data.”
The statement noted that all inconveniences which might be occasioned by the directive are deeply regretted.
Former President, Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) Olusola Teniola, said the two weeks’ window was tight estimating that there are 205 million active subscribers on the network while NIMC has so far captured 43million people.
He said the 43 million, most of who would be having multi-SIM cards, would be integrated with through NIMC API while those that do not have NIN will be disconnected from their network services.
The Personal Assistant on New Media to President Mohammadu Buhari, Bashir Ahmed also confirmed this on his Twitter account.
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