Telecommunications operators including MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile have been ordered to bar all outgoing calls of all Subscriber Identification Module cards not yet linked with the National Identification Number, according to a report by Punch.
The report said the order will take effect today, April 4, 2022.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, announced this in a statement on Monday, saying that the move was part of the implementation of the NIN-SIM linkage Policy of the government.
The statement was jointly signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, Ikechukwu Adinde; and Head, Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission, Kayode Adegoke.
The Federal Government had mandated telecommunications subscribers to link their SIMs with their NINs in December 2020, as part of the regime’s “security and social policies” but many Nigerians have faulted the effectiveness of the NIN-SIM linkage as kidnappers of Abuja-Kaduna train passengers and others still phone victims’ families to demand ransom and go scot-free, untraced with their NINs.
In the statement released on Monday, Pantami said as of date, over 125 million SIM cards have had their NINs submitted for linkage, verification and authentication while the NIMC has issued over 78 million NINs till date.
The statement was titled, ‘NIN-SIM Linkage: Federal Government Commends Compliance and Directs Telcos to Bar Outgoing Calls on Unlinked Lines from 4th April, 2022’.
It partly read, “Accordingly, Mr. President graciously approved the many requests to extend deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage.
“At this point, however, Government has determined that the NIN-SIM Policy implementation can proceed, as machinery has already been put in place to ensure compliance by citizens and legal residents. The implementation impacts on Government’s strategic planning, particularly in the areas of security and socio-economic projections.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the implementation of the Policy with effect from the 4th of April, 2022. Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all Telcos to strictly enforce the Policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria.
“Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage Policy from the 4th of April, 2022.
“Subscribers of such lines are hereby advised to link their SIMs to their NINs before the Telcos can lift the restriction on their lines. Affected individuals are hereby advised to register for their NINs at designated centres and thereafter link the NINs to their SIMs through the channels provided by NIMC and the Telcos, including the NIMC mobile App.”