April 14, 2024

In compliance with the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) directive, telecommunication operators deactivated over 40 million telephone lines over the weekend, a significant increase from the initially projected 12 million lines. The NCC had mandated the linking of Subscriber Identity Modules (SIM) to National Identity Numbers (NIN) by February 28, 2024, with no extension granted.

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, revealed in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH that the increased number included SIMs without NIN registration. Adebayo explained that individuals who had not submitted their NINs at all, those who hadn’t registered their SIMs, or participated in the harmonization program were among those affected.

The NCC had earlier warned against an extension of the deadline, with sanctions promised for telcos failing to enforce it. Adebayo hinted at further disconnections at the end of March and mid-April, targeting subscribers with more than five Mobile Subscription Identification Numbers associated with their NIN, yet to be verified.

While the NCC’s SIM-NIN synchronization initiative aims to enhance security, questions have been raised regarding the effectiveness of tracking criminals using this method. With 224.7 million active mobile telephone lines in Nigeria, the ALTON chairman did not provide a breakdown of the deactivated lines but indicated that additional disconnections would occur if subscribers failed to comply with regulations.

In response, the President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, called for a deadline extension until March 31st, expressing concerns for subscribers. If not granted, the association plans to seek redress in court on Thursday. Ogunbanjo emphasized the urgency of a 31-day extension, urging the NCC to consider the customers’ plight while addressing security concerns.

20 thoughts on “Over 40 Million Phone Lines Blocked as Nigerian Telecoms Implement NCC Deadline for SIM-NIN Linkage

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