Why SIMs previously linked to NIN were barred — NCC

SIM card
SIM card

Yesterday, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced that SIM cards previously connected to the National Identification Numbers, NIN, were blocked because they were deemed bad.

The commission also hinted that the police are responsible for using NIN to track kidnappers who are currently terrorizing the country.

NCC spokesman, Reuben Muoka, clarified in an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, The Morning Brief, that individuals who may not have obtained a cleared or verified NIN were restricted due to the inadequacy of the earlier submissions.

He mentioned that there were verification and identification issues with certain SIM cards, such as disparities in information like names and other data, and there are still some subscribers whose NINs are yet to be verified by the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, and those also require correction.

It is worth noting that numerous subscribers have raised concerns about linking their NIN with their SIM cards in the past, leading to some lines being barred because of inconsistencies between the NIN data and the SIM card registration information, according to the NCC spokesman.

He stated that subscribers must visit the outlets of their service providers to validate their NINs and address other issues.

The NCC had issued a directive last week to telecom service providers to disable subscribers who have not linked their phone numbers to their NIN by February 28, 2024.

Nigeria has over 224 million lines as of December 2023, based on data from the NCC, with MTN having more than 87 million subscribers, making up 38.79% of the total market share, the highest among licensed Mobile Network Operators in the country. Globacom and Airtel boast 61 million subscribers each, in contrast to 9mobile which has 13.9 million users.

At the expiration of the deadline last week, millions of lines were barred, with the regulator's spokesman stating that the NCC had been granting extensions since 2022 for convenience, highlighting the importance of resolving the issue.

Noting that the deadline would no longer be extended, Muoka expressed the difficulty in determining the actual number of barred phone lines, mentioning that the NCC will conduct an audit before the end of the week as they await data from service providers.

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