BREAKING: Over 40m blocked lines to be forfeited over refusal to link SIM to NIN

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that over 40 million telephone lines barred because owners failed to link their SIM cards with their National Identification Number (NIN) will soon be unable to make calls.

The NCC Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Mouka, on Tuesday, during an interview with The PUNCH.

According to him, the telephone lines barred by their telecommunication operators have breached the February 28, 2024 deadline issued by the commission mandating telecom customers to link their Subscriber Identity Modules (SIM) to their NIN.

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He said, “If the barred lines are not acted upon in the next 180 days. They won’t be able to receive calls but will only be able to text and make calls. But after the stipulated days, they would be barred from making calls too. And might forfeit their lines to their respective service provider within 365 days.”

Telcos giants like MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria, Globacom, and others started barring lines not linked to NIN from February 28, 2024, after NCC ruled out the possibility of an extension to the deadline issued in December 2023.

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The Federal Government had, on December 16, 2020, introduced the SIM-NIN synchronisation initiative meant to enable security agencies to track criminals.

The synchronisation involves validating the NIN with the National Identity Management Commission and matching the subscriber’s NIN records with the SIM registration information (verification) to ensure proper subscriber identification.

However, Nigerians have raised questions on why security agencies have not used the SIM-NIN linkage to track criminals, especially bandits and kidnappers, who often use mobile telephone lines to speak with victims’ families during ransom negotiations.

Presently, there are 224.7 million active mobile telephone lines in the country, according to the information released by the NCC on its website.

This report is developing, more details will be shared on the Intel Region WhatsApp group as soon as possible.

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