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NCC Gives Reasons Why SIMs Were Barred Even After Linking NIN

04 March
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.

NCC spokesman, Reuben Muoka, on Monday, made this known on Channels Television’s The Morning Brief programme, where he said some SIM cards have verification and identification issues like disparity in information such names and other data.

Muoka, in his statement, said “people who probably didn’t get a cleared or verified NIN” have been barred because “the earlier ones they submitted was not good”.

“There are still some subscribers whose NINs are yet to be verified by NIMC and those have to also be corrected,” he said.

Many subscribers have complained that they had previously linked their NIN with their SIM cards years ago but the NCC official said some lines were barred because the information on the NIN did not tally with what the customers register 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 by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). MTN boast 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 have been barred. Actually, the service providers starting barring people many days to the deadline,” he said.

Muoka, however, said it will be difficult to tell the actually 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.

He said the NIN-SIM linkage has an objective which is to make Nigerians have digital identity 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 a number of 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,” he stated.
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