The Federal government has directed all telecommunication operators in the country to disconnect every SIM card not registered with the National Identity Number (NIN) by December 30th.
This follows an earlier directive given by the Minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Ali Pantami on the suspension of new SIM registration by network operators.
This new directive comes as part of the outcomes of a meeting of key stakeholders in the communications industry convened by the minister on December 14, 2020.
The meeting in its resolution insisted that all telecom operators must from Thursday, December 16, 2020 require all their subscribers to provide valid National Identification Number (NIN) to update SIM registration records.
Also part of the resolutions reached at the meeting was that the submission of NIN by subscribers should take place within two weeks (from today December 16, 2020 and end by 30 December, 2020).
Other decisions reached for immediate implementation by all Network operators include: Affirmation of the earlier directive to totally suspend registration of New SIMs by all operators; after the deadline, all SIMs without NINs are to be blocked from the networks.
A Ministerial Task Force comprising the Minister and all the CEOs (among others) as members is to monitor compliance by all networks.
Violations of this directive will be met by stiff sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license.
This according to the stakeholders was to consolidate the achievements of last year’s SIM registration audit and improve the performance and sanity of the sector. It was agreed that urgent drastic measures is inevitable to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process.
They however, urged the general public to ensure that their NINs are captured in their SIM registration data and apologized for all inconveniences which might be occasioned by this directive.
The meeting had in attendance the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), as well as the CEOs and Management staff of all service providers in the industry.
However, the new directive by the FG did not receive applause by Nigerians, home and abroad who had immediately took to the same social media platform to express their displeasure at the new policy direction.
Mostly lamented on how the federal government think that it’s a good idea to force Nigerians to panic and get a NIN knowing fully well that it had already warned Nigerians of a second wave of Corona virus.
Some asked why disrupts a sector that has been responsible for >50% of positive growth in the last 2 quarters.