SIMs not linked to NIN will be deactivated month-end, NCC warns

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said SIM cards that are yet to be linked to the National Identity Numbers (NIN) will be deactivated by the end of February.

NCC Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Aminu Maida, disclosed this during a meeting with journalists on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

“By the end of this month, SIMs without NIN will no longer work,” Mr Maida said.

The compulsory linkage began in December 2020 when the government directed telecommunication companies to block calls from unregistered and unlinked NINs.

The policy was expected to help the authorities in fighting bandits and terrorists who kidnap and kill innocent people daily. Despite the extension of deadlines, many phone lines are yet to be linked.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Maida said “Pre-registered or illegally registered SIM has been a challenge for a long time. In 2021, there was a policy to link NIN with SIMs thinking that such will take care of the problem but people in the value chain lashed out on loopholes.”

He added that the commission will hold telecom service providers accountable for service delivery to customers.

“You are going to see a change in the way we make decisions; we are going to be very data-driven. All our decisions are going to be backed up by data as much as possible. We want to reduce subjectiveness and make the right decisions that will improve the industry.

“We intend to hold our licensees accountable for all services. After all, the consumers pay for the services and they expect the service to be at a certain level or point so we will be holding our licensees accountable to ensure they deliver on their obligations to their licenses.

“We need to put smiles back on the faces of consumers. NCC is clear on this; we need to protect the interests of consumers. They remain number one because that is where you extract values from. Yet, the interest of licensed operators will also be protected while we put eyes on their activities to see the level of compliance.” he said.

He explained that the commission would focus more on the consumer, government and licensees and the industry.

“The commission also will be driven by the recognition that we have primarily three critical stakeholders in the industry. These are the consumers of telecom services, the industry and the licensees. The topmost are the internet service providers (ISPs), submarine-landed cable companies, and all of the licensees of the commission and last but not least, the government,” he said.

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