The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given telecommunications operators in the country two weeks to block all SIM cards that are not registered with the National Identity Numbers (NIN).
NCC Director of Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde announced the new Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) Cards rules in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Adinde said the implementation followed the earlier directive on the suspension of new SIM registration by network operators by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami.
He said that the minister had convened an urgent meeting of key stakeholders in the communications industry.
According to him, the meeting had in attendance the NCC Management, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and CEOs of Service Providers in the industry.
He said that the need to consolidate the achievements of 2019 SIM registration audit and improve the performance to sanitise the sector was exhaustively discussed at the meeting.
He also disclosed that all stakeholders agreed that drastic measures have become inevitable to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process.
Adinde said that to this end, the following decisions were taken for immediate implementation by all Network Operators:
“Affirmation of the earlier directive to totally suspend registration of NEW SIMs by all operators.
“Operators to require all their subscribers to provide valid National Identification Number (NIN) to update SIM registration records.
“The submission of NIN by subscribers to take place within two weeks, commencing Dec.16 and ending by Dec. 30.
“After the deadline, all SIMs without NINs are to be blocked from the networks.
“A Ministerial Task Force comprising the Minister and all the CEOs (among others) as members is to monitor compliance by all networks.
“Violations of this directive will be met by stiff sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license,” Adinde said.
He urged Nigerians to ensure that their NINs were captured in their SIM registration data, adding that all inconveniences which might be occasioned by the directive were deeply regretted.