Nigerians were sent into panic mode following the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)’s latest directive to all telecommunication operators.
The NCC ordered all telecommunication operators in the country to disconnect all SIM cards that are not linked to National Identity Numbers (NIN) by December 30.
The directive was issued after the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) convened an urgent meeting of key stakeholders in the Communications industry on Monday.
According to a statement released by the NCC Director of Public Affairs, the step was done to improve the achievements of 2019’s SIM registration audit, and boost the performance and sanity of the telecommunication sector.
The decisions taken for immediate implementation include:
- Affirmation of the earlier directive to totally suspend the registration of NEW SIMs by all operators.
- Operators will require ALL the subscribers to provide valid National Identification Number (NIN) to update SIM registration records.
- The submission of NIN by subscribers must take place within two weeks (from today December 16, 2020, and end by 30 December 2020).
- After the deadline, ALL SIMs without NINs will be blocked from the networks.
- A Ministerial Task Force comprising of the Minister and all the CEOs for the telecoms sector (among others) as members is to monitor compliance by all networks.
- Those who disobey this directive will face a hard punishment, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license.
Following the news, some Nigerians scurried to check their NIN status while others expressed their dissatisfaction over the fact that they were being charged N20 for the process.
Subsequently, the House of Representatives, ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, to extend the deadline to February 2021 to give telephone subscribers sufficient time to link their NINS with their SIM Cards.
In other related news, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) also announced that it will start imposing the National Identification Number (NIN) directive on driver’s license processing nationwide, with effect from December 21.