From Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Federal Government has ordered Mobile Network Operators to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards without with valid National Identification Numbers (NIN) after December 30, 2020.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami ordered this during a meeting of key stakeholders in the communications industry. This was disclosed by the spokesperson of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Ikechukwu Adinde.
He said in a statement that the meeting was convened following the earlier directive on the suspension of new SIM registration by network operators. He mentioned they discussed the need to consolidate the achievements of last year’s SIM registration audit to help improve the performance and sanity of the sector.
The NCC said stakeholders agreed that urgent drastic measures had now become inevitable to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process. It said: “Operators are to require all their subscribers to provide valid National Identification Number 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.”
The NCC stated that a ministerial task force comprising the minister and all the CEOs (among others) would serve as members 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 commission stated.
It urged the general public to ensure that their NINs were captured in their SIM registration data, adding that all inconveniences which might be occasioned by this directive were deeply regretted.
The meeting had in attendance the chief executive officers and management of the NCC and the National Information Technology Development Agency. Others include the National Identity Management Commission, as well as the CEOs and management staff of all service providers in the industry.