April 17, 2024

Telcos to Bar Unlinked SIM Cards as NCC Maintains SIM-NIN Deadline

 

By: Emmanuel Ibitoye 9

 

Telecommunication companies are set to disconnect more Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) numbers not linked to National Identification Numbers (NIN) on Friday, March 29, 2024, as confirmed by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC). Reuben Mouka, Director of Public Publicity at the NCC, emphasized that there would be no extension to the deadline for the next phase of disconnection. The NCC’s directive for disconnection is proceeding as scheduled, with the second phase slated for March 29, 2024, following the initial phase on February 28, 2024.

 

During the previous deadline on February 28, 2024, approximately 40 million lines were disconnected nationwide, with MTN Nigeria reporting over 4.2 million lines disconnected from its network. The NCC reiterated its commitment to enforcing regulatory measures aimed at enhancing security and regulatory compliance within the telecommunications sector through the SIM-NIN linkage initiative.

 

The policy, introduced by the Nigerian government in December 2020, mandates all telephone line users to associate their SIM cards with their NIN. Despite recent warnings from organizations like the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) regarding the directive’s potential infringement on citizens’ rights, the NCC remains steadfast in its implementation. Recently, the National Identity Management Commission and the NCC unveiled a strategic partnership to simplify the NIN-SIM linkage procedures, emphasizing the initiative’s significance in bolstering security measures nationwide.

 

Additionally, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced plans to freeze accounts lacking a Bank Verification Number (BVN) or NIN starting April 2024. Deposit money banks have been actively urging customers to update their NIN and BVN details since the issuance of this directive, which includes placing a “Post No Debit” restriction on accounts without BVN or NIN to prevent transactions until compliance is achieved.

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