NIN-SIM linkage: Telcos started blocking subscribers days before deadline, says NCC

NCC directs telcos to audit billings, cites data depletion complaints NCC directs telcos to audit billings, cites data depletion complaints

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says network providers started blocking subscriber identification modules (SIMs) yet to be linked to their national identity numbers (NINs) before the deadline.

Reuben Muoka, director of public relations at NCC, spoke on Channels Television on Monday.

On February 28, 2024, the commission said it issued a directive to telecommunications companies to bar subscribers who have failed to link their phone numbers to their NIN on or before February 28, 2024.

Speaking during the interview, Muoka said some SIM cards have verification and identification issues, like disparity in information such as names and other data.


He said those who did not get a cleared or verified NIN have been barred because the earlier ones they submitted were not good.

According to Muoka, everybody who has not submitted NIN to service providers has also been barred.

“Actually, the service providers started to bar people many days before the deadline,” Muoka said.


The NCC director said the number of affected persons, whose SIMs are not linked to their NINs, will be released soon.

“We are expecting to do an audit on that before the end of the week because the service providers ought to send in data of the subscribers barred,” he said.

“The process is to have an identity attached to a SIM. One of the benefits of SIM registration is to have a digital identity. The Nigerian government is very serious about having NIN as managed by NIMC. 

“The idea is to ensure that we have those together. Some objectives, if you remember, are security and national planning. Also includes ‘know your customer’s details’.”


Also, the spokesperson said there are still some subscribers whose NINs are yet to be verified by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).


Muoka 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,” Muoka said.


He said the NIN-SIM linkage has an objective which is to give Nigerians 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 many things,” he said.


“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.”

On March 1, 2024, the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) asked the NCC to extend the deadline for blocking unlinked subscribers to March 31, 2024.

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