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NIN-SIM linkage: Telco users besiege NIMC

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MTN, Airtel apologise give reasons for SIM blockage

BY Uche Kalu

FOLLOWING the on-going barring of SIM cards by the mobile network providers, the consumers have besieged the offices of the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC) to register their disapproval of barring them from making calls.

  At the office of NIMC along Enugwu-Agidi Road, customers were seen early in the morning trying to gain entry into the office. In an interview with some of them, they lamented their inability to make or receive calls from their mobile phones which started since Monday.

  However, Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) and Airtel Nigeria have apologised to their numerous customers for the restrictions, given the reasons why they barred some of their subscribers from making calls.

   This was confirmed by the statements the telecoms issued via their Twitter handles on Tuesday.

 According to the companies, the restrictions were implemented due to the directive of the federal government, asking the network providers to bar SIMs that are not linked to NIN from outgoing calls.

 While apologising to the customers, MTN said, “Y’ello, we apologize for any inconvenience caused you. The communication to implement restrictions on outgoing calls for customers who have not linked their National Identification Number (NIN) to their SIM is a directive from the federal government.”

  Airtel on its part stated, “Hello, please note that the NCC has directed all MNOs to bar lines not yet linked to NIN.”

  Recall that the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) had given the final warning, saying that blocking of the unregistered SIM cards should take effect from April 4, 2022,

   According to the statement, President Buhari had graciously approved the many requests to extend deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage. At this point, however, the 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 the Government’s strategic planning, particularly in the areas of security and socio-economic projections

  The statement read in part, “It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, gave the directive for the implementation and commencement of the exercise in December 2020, as part of the administration’s security and social policies. The deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage have been extended on multiple occasions to allow Nigerians to freely comply with the policy. The FG also took into consideration the passionate appeals by several bodies – Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Civil Societies, Professional Bodies and a host of others for the extension of the deadlines in the past.

 “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the implementation of the policy with effect from April 4, 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.”

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