NEWS

11 Million Subscribers to Face SIM Blockage Today Due to SIM-NIN Linkage Deadline

Approximately 11.2 million active Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards still lack linkage to their respective National Identity Numbers (NINs). They are slated for blocking starting today, as confirmed by telecom operators.

The move follows a directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), reiterated yesterday by the Executive Vice Chairman, Dr. Aminu Maida, during the 45th Kaduna International Trade Fair. Maida emphasized the critical national security aspect, urging telecom consumers to adhere to the SIM-NIN linkage.

However, this action unfolds amidst legal proceedings, with a Federal High Court injunction issued Tuesday in Lagos. The court restrained telecom operators from deactivating or terminating unlinked phone lines or SIM cards pending an Appeal Court decision. Notably, the NCC and telecom operators are yet to appeal this injunction.

The federal government introduced the SIM-NIN synchronisation initiative on December 16, 2020, aiming to bolster security measures by enabling authorities to track criminals effectively.

Despite the synchronization process, questions linger regarding its efficacy, particularly in tracking criminal activities such as banditry and kidnapping. With over 224.7 million active mobile telephone lines nationwide, only 104 million NINs have been registered as of last week, according to NIMC spokesman Kayode Adegoke.

Last year, the NCC set February 28, 2024, as the deadline for telecom operators to block unlinked subscribers’ lines. This deadline remains firm, reaffirmed by NCC’s Maida, emphasizing the importance of consumer compliance for ensuring the availability and sustainability of telecommunications services.

A reliable source at the NCC revealed that approximately 11.2 million SIM cards remain unlinked, underscoring telecom operators’ imminent enforcement of barring measures, restricting both outgoing and incoming calls and service access for affected subscribers.

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