The Federal Government announced on Tuesday that all GSM phone subscribers whose SIM cards are not linked with their National Identification Numbers (NINs) by December 30 will be disconnected from their networks.
This followed a meeting of communications sector stakeholders convened by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, on Monday.
This latest announcement is coming on the heels of an earlier directive on the suspension of new SIM registration by network operators.
A statement by Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs in the NCC, said the meeting had in attendance the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), as well as the CEOs and management staff of all service providers in the industry.
He explained that at the meeting, 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 and all stakeholders agreed that urgent drastic measures had become inevitable to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process.
To this end, he said, the following decisions were taken for immediate implementation by all network operators, which include “affirmation of the earlier directive to totally suspend registration of new SIMs by all operators”.
He continued: “Operators to require all their subscribers to provide valid National Identification Number (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 December 30, 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 licence.”
Adinde, therefore, urged the general public to ensure that their NINs were captured in their SIM registration data.
“All inconveniences which might be occasioned by this directive are deeply regretted,” he said.