Infotech

SIM-NIN Linkage: NCC insists on deadline, telcos bar lines Friday

Telecommunication companies will disconnect more Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) numbers not linked to National Identification Numbers (NIN) on Friday, March 29, 2024, the Nigeria Communications Commission has said.

 

The Director of Public Publicity at the NCC, Reuben Mouka, told our correspondent on a telephone call that there would be no changes to the deadline for the next phase of disconnection, reports The PUNCH.

 

The NCC’s directive for disconnection is being rolled out in stages, with the second phase set for March 29, 2024, continuing as previously announced.

 

The initial phase took place on February 28, 2024. Subsequently, whilethe third phase is slated to begin on April 15, 2024.

 

“We issued a publication that you can refer to. We specified certain deadlines and stipulated that subscribers who do not comply with the directive would be barred. And that has not changed.”

 

Mouka said at the last deadline on February 28, 2024, about 40 million lines that were not linked to NIN were barred.

 

MTN Nigeria reported that over 4.2 million lines were disconnected from its network after the February 28 deadline.

 

The NCC has reiterated its commitment to enforcing regulatory measures aimed at enhancing security and regulatory compliance within the telecommunications sector.

 

The SIM-NIN linkage initiative is a crucial step towards improving the integrity of subscriber data and enhancing security measures within the telecommunications industry.

 

The NIN-SIM linkage policy was initially introduced by the Nigerian government in December 2020. This directive requires all telephone line users in Nigeria to associate their SIM cards with their NIN.

 

In December of the previous year, the NCC issued a directive stipulating that all telecommunications operators in Nigeria, including major providers like MTN, Airtel, and Globacom, among others, must enforce complete network barring on all phone lines for which subscribers have not provided their NINs by February 28, 2024.

 

Barely two weeks ago, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project issued a warning to take legal action against the NCC if it did not revoke the directive instructing network providers to block the phone lines of individuals who have not linked their SIM cards to their NINs.

 

In an open letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Aminu Maida, SERAP emphasised the necessity for further consultation and the establishment of an efficient process to enable Nigerians who have yet to link their SIM cards to their NINs to do so.

 

Dated March 9, 2024, and signed by the Deputy Director of SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare, the letter condemned the directive to network providers, asserting that it constitutes a severe infringement on citizens’ rights to freedom of expression, information, and privacy.

 

Last week, the National Identity Management Commission and the NCC issued a joint statement unveiling a strategic partnership aimed at simplifying the NIN-SIM linkage procedures for telecommunications subscribers nationwide.

 

Both agencies reaffirmed their dedication to enhancing the processes involved and improving efficiency regarding the NIN and SIM card linkage initiative.

 

They acknowledge the importance of this initiative in bolstering security measures and enhancing service delivery across the country.

 

Last December, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced its intention to freeze accounts lacking a BVN, or NIN, starting April 2024.

 

It also mandated that all BVNs or NINs linked to accounts or wallets be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024.

 

Since the issuance of this directive by the apex bank, deposit money banks have been actively utilizing their communication platforms to urge customers to update their NIN and BVN details.

 

In the circular by the CBN, it instructed banks to place a “Post no Debit” restriction – which prevents customers from making withdrawals, transfers, or any other debits “for all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN.”

 

‘Post No Debit’ is a term used to describe a restriction imposed by banks on specific accounts, preventing customers from making withdrawals, transfers, or any other debits from such accounts.

 

“Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied. Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ and no further transactions permitted.”

 

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