FG orders bar on outgoing calls on unregistered lines

The federal government has directed telecommunication companies to bar outgoing calls on all unlinked lines. Unlinked lines are subscriber identity module (SIM) cards not yet linked with the National Identification Number (NIN).

In December 2020, Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, announced the integration policy of SIM cards into the national identification number (NIN) database.

Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Kayode Adegoke, head, corporate communications, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), disclosed this in a joint statement on Monday.

According to the statement, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the implementation of the NIN-SIM policy with effect from the 4th of April, 2022.

“Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all Telcos to strictly enforce the Policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria. Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage Policy from the 4th of April, 2022,” the statement reads.

“Subscribers of such lines are hereby advised to link their SIMs to their NINs before the telcos can lift the restriction on their lines. Affected individuals are hereby advised to register for their NINs at designated centres and thereafter link the NINs to their SIMs through the channels provided by NIMC and the Telcos, including the NIMC mobile App.

“The Honourable Minister also emphasized that enrolment for the NIN is a continuous exercise, and NIN is a precondition for service in Telcos, banks, Nigerian Immigration Service, and several other government services. He also encouraged Nigerians and legal residents to visit NIN registration centres for the enrollment and issuance of valid NINs.”

The federal government said it has put in place machinery to ensure compliance by citizens and legal residents.

“It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, gave the directive for the implementation and commencement of the exercise in December 2020, as part of the administration’s security and social policies. The deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage had been extended on multiple occasions to allow Nigerians to freely comply with the Policy. The FG also took into consideration the passionate appeals by several bodies – Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Civil Societies, Professional Bodies and a host of others – for the extension of the deadlines in the past,” the statement added.

“Accordingly, President graciously approved the many requests to extend deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage. At this point, however, the government has determined that the NIN-SIM Policy implementation can proceed, as machinery has already been put in place to ensure compliance by citizens and legal residents. The implementation impacts on government’s strategic planning, particularly in the areas of security and socio-economic projections.”

The statement added that over 125 million sims have had their NINs submitted for linkage, verification and authentication as of date, while the NIMC has issued over 78 million unique NINs.

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