By Emmanuel Elebeke
Following the earlier directive on the suspension of new SIM registration by network operators, the Federal government has directed all operators in the country
To disconnect every SIM card not synchronized with valid National Identity Number (NIN) by December 30th.
This came after an urgent meeting of key stakeholders in the Communications industry convened by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) on Monday, 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.
Consequently, part of the resolutions reached at the meeting is that the submission of NIN by subscribers should take place within two weeks (from today December 16, 2020 and end by 30 December, 2020).
At the meeting, the need to consolidate the achievements of last year’s SIM registration audit and improve the performance and sanity of the sector was exhaustively discussed and all stakeholders agreed that urgent drastic measures have now become inevitable to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process.
To this end, other decisions taken for immediate implementation by all Network operators include: .Affirmation of the earlier directive to totally suspend registration of New SIMs by all operators; operators to require all their subscribers to provide valid National Identification Number (NIN) to update SIM registration records and after the deadline, all SIMs without NINs are to be blocked from the networks.
Also, the meeting ended with the setting up of a Ministerial Task Force comprising the Minister and all the CEOs among others as members is to monitor compliance by all networks.
According to them, violations of this directive will be met by stiff sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license.
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.
It will be recalled that the Minister had in September last year directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to carry out SIM registration audit, which led to the disconnection of about 9.2 million unregistered SIMs nationwide, following the rising rate of insecurity in the country.
Similarly, the Minister had last week also directed the NCC to suspend activation of new SIM cards. This he said was to allow an audit of the Subscriber Registration database.
The Minister explained that the order was in line with Federal government’s desire to consolidate the achievement of September 2019 SIM card registration.
He further explained that the objective of the audit was to verify and ensure compliance by Mobile Network Operators (MNO) with the set quality standards and requirements as issued by the Ministry and the commission.