The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says telecommunications companies have 14 days to block SIM cards not registered with the national identity number (NIN).
The fresh directive is based on the outcome of a meeting of key stakeholders in the communications industry as convened by Isa Ali Pantami, the minister of communications and digital economy, on December 14, 2020.
The key stakeholders concluded that operators should “require ALL their subscribers to provide valid National Identification Number (NIN) to update SIM registration records”.
“The submission of NIN by subscribers to take place within two weeks (from today December 16, 2020 and end by 30 December, 2020).”
“After the deadline, ALL SIMs without NINs are to be blocked from the networks,” the statement read.
“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.”
Citing the statement by the NCC, Bashir Ahmad, special assistant to the president on new media, shared the directive on Twitter on Tuesday evening.
“The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given telecommunications operators (MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9Mobile and others) in the country two weeks to block all SIM cards that are not registered with the National Identity Numbers (NIN), the Commission has said in a statement,” the presidential aide tweet.
Nigerians, home and abroad, immediately took to the same social media platform to express their displeasure at the new policy direction.
The Ministry of Health warned that Nigeria is entering a second wave of Corona virus.
But the Nigerian government thinks it's a good idea to force Nigerians to panic and get a NIN.
You people are mad, all of you, we can't til 2023, you people can't turn everything to ashes. https://t.co/zPZ2tXSwgn
— William (@_SirWilliam_) December 15, 2020
Watch @DrIsaPantami come out and deny that he didn't see this memo after they see the outcry.
Issue an ill-baked statement. Fail. Rinse. Repeat https://t.co/bSUJXzGlxK
— Eben (@EbenezarWikina) December 15, 2020
Nigeria trying to outdo themselves with zero plan. How is this going to curb insecurity when you know where the terrorists are? https://t.co/1cOo4vTNPx
— African Queen 👸🏾 (@Obiora_mj) December 15, 2020
GDP growth in telecoms has been driving positive growth for a while now. It was responsible for >50% of positive growth in the last 2 quarters which had contractions overall.
— Seun Smith (@seunsmith) December 15, 2020
Me as Nigeria:
“I hope you have stamina because I will frustrate your life.” https://t.co/AmAqBVQtNu
— ‘Tunde Omotoye (@TundeTASH) December 15, 2020
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.