NIN-SIM linkage: 72 million lines barred from making calls

Post created on 3:30 pm



Over 72.77 million active telecommunication subscribers have been barred from making calls on their SIMs, following a directive from the Federal Government to telecommunication companies.

On Monday, the Federal Government ordered telecommunications companies to enforce compliance with its National Identification Number-Subscriber Identity Module 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, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, and the Head, Corporate Communications at the Nigeria Identity Management Commission, Mr Kayode Adegoke.

It stated, “Accordingly, Mr. President graciously approved the many requests to extend deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage. At this point, however, the 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.

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

“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 April 4, 2022.”

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.

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

He said, “We just woke up to the news that ongoing calls will be blocked. The minister should understand that this is too premature, premature in the sense that we started this in December 2020.

I think it should be an ongoing exercise. In case the minister now wants to put a timeline, let him meet with the operators to know how many people have been linked.

“We need to know the percentage of progress made. There was no final notice, we only had three extra days after March 31st, which is not tidy. We use these phones for our various businesses. This will collapse businesses.”

“Six to 10 weeks ago, the portal broke down and there was nothing anyone could do. There are these issues.

“The government cannot close their eyes to all these issues and the challenges that the NIMC is having. The government should not cripple businesses. There is a need to extend, and not to stop the exercise. This is a premature move.”



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