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Telecom operators have blocked over 40 million SIMs without NIN

The Federal Government introduced the NIN-SIM linkage initiative on December 16, 2020, to enable security agencies to track criminals.

NCC directs telecom operators to block 12m SIM cards not linked to NIN. [Punch]

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had in December 2023, directed telecom companies to block Subscriber Identity Modules numbers that had not been linked to the National Identity Numbers by February 28, 2024.

Before the deadline, Reuben Mouka, the NCC Director of Public Affairs, warned that any telecommunication company that failed to enforce the deadline would be sanctioned.

Meanwhile, Gbenga Adebayo, the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) had earlier maintained that 12 million telephone lines would be barred as a result of the directive.

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But in an interview with ThePunch over the weekend, the ALTON chairman disclosed that over 40 million SIMs have been blocked already.

Adebayo said, “I can tell you that over 40 million lines have been blocked and the affected customers are those who didn’t submit their NIN at all. Some persons have not presented any NIN to operators. They haven’t registered their SIMs or participated in the harmonisation programme.

“They simply haven’t made any presentation of the NIN number to their operators and those were the persons blocked. So why is the number so alarming despite repeated warnings? It shows many people still communicate but are not registered.”

Even though over 40 million SIMs have been blocked, more lines according to Adebayo would still be disconnected.

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“The second tier of disconnections that will happen are those who have provided NIN but have more than five Mobile Subscription Identification Numbers associated with their NIN, and these have not been verified.

“This is because some have differences in the order of their names, and some have differences in their date of birth. The information provided to the operator when they did the SIM registration is different from what they provided (to NIMC) when they did their NIN. Some subscribers also have some differences in other records that are very critical to their verification process,” he disclosed.

The Federal Government introduced the NIN-SIM linkage initiative on December 16, 2020, to enable security agencies to track criminals, especially kidnappers and bandits.

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