SIM-NIN linkage: 20.4 million Nigerians risk disconnection from telecoms services

Abuja—At least 20.4 million Nigerians risk being disconnected from telecommunication services if the Federal Government implements the National Identification Number–Subscriber Identity Module policy as it has hinted, Punch newspaper reports.

In a statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde; and the Head, Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission, Mr. Kayode Adegoke, the Federal Government had disclosed on Thursday that it was set to enforce the SIM-NIN policy.

It said this as the March 31, 2022, deadline for the exercise expired. According to Federal Government, subscribers now have a couple of days to link their SIMs to NINs before it begins to enforce the policy.

When enforced, subscribers who have not linked their SIMs and NINs together will not be able to use telecommunication services.

The statement read in part, “The general public would recall that the Federal Government approved an extension of the NIN-SIM linkage deadline to the 31st of March 2022.

“In preparation for the enforcement, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami urges citizens and legal residents to use the next few days to ensure that they complete the linkage.

“To this end, the Honourable Minister has further directed that NIMC should offer enrolment services round-the-clock for the next few days.”

In preparation for this, NIMC announced that its enrollment centers would be operational this weekend. It said, “This is to notify the general public that all NIN enrolment centers nationwide will be operational over the weekend.

“This is to enable those yet to obtain the NIN to do so within the timeframe given by the federal government before enforcement of the NIN-SIM linkage commences.

“77.1 million unique NINs have been issued by the NIMC as of March 21, 2022, according to data obtained from the agency’s website.

There were 97.5 million unique mobile subscribers in Nigeria as of September 2018, according to the GSMA, the global organisation representing telecom operators worldwide.

Nigeria is projected to have 130 million unique subscribers by 2025. The NCC said there were 197,768,482 active telecom subscribers in February 2022.

At different times, the NIMC and NCC have disclosed that a subscriber’s NIN can be linked to more than one SIM.

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