Telecom Operators To Bar Subscribers Without NIN From Feb 29

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Effective February 29th, telecom operators in the country will bar subscribers whose phone numbers are not linked to the National Identification Number (NIN) in the ongoing integration of SIM cards into the NIN database.

This follows the February 28, 2024, deadline set by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) for all telecom operators to implement the directive on compliance with the linkage of NIN to phone numbers to improve and enhance national security in the country.

Executive Chairman, (NCC), Aminu Maida disclosed this Tuesday during the ‘Commission Day’ at the ongoing 45th Kaduna International Trade Fair and noted that it is a matter of critical national security for telecom consumers to link their Nin to Sim.

Said Maida, “To this end, the Commission has directed all telecommunication operators to bar phone lines of subscribers whose lines are not linked to their NINs on or before February 28, 2024.

Former Communication and Digital Economy Minister, Isa Pantami had in December 2020 announced the integration policy of SIM cards into the NIN database and the federal government afterwards in April 2022 directed telcos to bar outgoing calls on all unlined lines.

MTN Nigeria in a corporate filing by its Company Secretary, Uto Ukpanah, on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) in December 2023 also reminded its subscribers of the February 2024 deadline for unlinked phone lines.

Speaking at the trade fair, the NCC Boss stated that this year’s theme, “Sustaining Economic Recovery through Deepening Local Content Value Chain” resonates deeply with the principles and objectives of the Commission on the promotion of local content development in the telecoms industry, noting that as a sector regulator, the Commission carries out its functions to ensure service availability, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability for all categories of consumers, who are leveraging on ICT/Telecoms to drive personal and business activities.

The Commission, he said, is fully committed to the advancement of local content and the overall development of the Nigerian economy having recognised the importance of deepening the local content value chain as a critical driver for economic sustainability and growth.

He highlighted various initiatives that have been implemented by the commission to promote indigenous participation in the telecommunications sector which included the sponsorship of several Hackathons to encourage through which three winners emerged in three critical thematic areas of innovations namely, the Blockchain-enabled Data Protection Solutions for Enhancing Regulatory Compliance; Assistive Technology Solutions for the Elderly and People with Disabilities and Technology Solutions for Renewable Energy in Rural Areas in 2023 to promote Nigerian innovators to expand the frontiers of the Digital Economy.

While Maida noted the NCC’s continued efforts to prioritize consumer protection and empowerment, ensuring they have access to high-quality telecommunications services and are well-informed about their rights and responsibilities, he however urged all stakeholders, including telecommunications operators, equipment manufacturers, software developers, and consumers, to embrace the ethos of promoting local content.

“By working together, we can create a more vibrant and inclusive telecommunications industry that contributes significantly to Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth”, he stated.

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