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Thursday, May 23, 2024


NCC Gives Reasons Why It Wanted NIN Linked With SIMs

 Olushola Bello

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has explained why some telecommunications subscribers who previously linked their SIM cards to their National Identification Numbers (NINs) have their mobile lines barred.

The Commission said the NIN-SIM linkage has an objective which is to give Nigerians digital identity with which to tackle security matters.

“The whole essence is actually to achieve the convenience that digital services and products will offer. By the time you have your identity together, you will be able to attend to several things. Even the banks are now asking their customers to link their NINs to their Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs). It is actually to make a holistic package of all your digital services,” the commission stated.

According to NCC spokesman, Reuben Muoka, he said those people who probably didn’t get a “cleared or verified NIN” are barred because “the earlier ones they submitted were not good”.

He said some SIM cards have verification and identification issues like disparity in information such as names and other data.

 The NCC chief who spoke on Channels Television’s The Morning Brief programme, said: “There are still some subscribers whose NINs are yet to be verified by NIMC and those have to also be corrected,”

Responding to the question that many subscribers have complained that they had previously linked their NIN with their SIM cards years ago, he said some lines were barred because the information on the NIN did not tally with what the customers registered with their SIM cards.

He said subscribers will have to visit the outlets of their service providers to validate their NINs and resolve other matters.

“For now, it requires those physical visits to the stations to get it verified and validated but in the future, we hope that this will be done virtually,” the NCC spokesman said.

The NCC had last week issued a directive to telecom service providers to bar subscribers who have failed to link their phone numbers to their NIN on or before February 28, 2024.

As of December 2023, Nigeria has over 224 million, according to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). MTN boasts of over 87 million subscribers, representing 38.79% of the total market share, the highest in the country by any licensed Mobile Network Operator (MNO). Globacom and Airtel have 61 million subscribers each while 9mobile has 13.9 million users.

Millions of lines were barred last week at the expiration of the deadline but the regulator’s spokesman said the NCC has been going through one deadline after the other since 2022 “to give extension for convenience but it is time to get to a closure”.

“Take it that everybody who has not submitted his NIN to the service providers has been barred. The service providers started barring people many days before the deadline,” he said.

He, however, said it will be difficult to tell the actual number of phone lines that have been barred but the NCC will do an audit before the end of the week as data are expected from service providers.businessstandardsng.com/A strategic cross-reporting initiative.

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