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FG Bars 73m Phone Lines To Tackle Rising Insecurity

 

The Federal Government has directed telecommunication operators to bar outgoing calls from phone numbers not linked to the National Identification Number (NIN) in a bid to tackle rising insecurity in the country with effect from Monday, April 4.

close up employee call center man hand point to press button number on telephone office desk with icon virtual interface of communication technology concept

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive for the implementation and commencement of the exercise in December 2020, as part of the administration’s security and social policies. Kidnappers usually call relatives of their victims with unregistered SIM cards, which makes it difficult to trace. The latest directive means that about 73 million phone lines that are not linked to the National Identification Number (NIN) will not be used to make calls. Out of the nation’s 198 million phone connections, 125 million SIM cards had been verified and linked to 78 million unique National Identification Number, according to the statement on Monday jointly issued by Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Mr. Kayode Adegoke, Head, Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

“Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all telcos to strictly enforce the policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria.

“Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage policy from the 4th of April, 2022.

“Subscribers of such lines are hereby advised to link their SIMs to their NINs before the telcos can lift the restriction on their lines.

“Affected individuals are hereby advised to register for their NINs at designated centers and thereafter link the NINs to their SIMs through the channels provided by NIMC and the telcos, including the NIMC mobile App,” according to the statement.

It commended Nigerians and legal residents for their support during the exercise to link the National Identification Number (NIN) to the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM).

“On behalf of the Federal Government, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has commended Nigerians and legal residents for their support during the exercise to link the National Identification Number (NIN) to the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM).

“As of date, over 125 million SIMs have had their NINs submitted for immediate linkage, verification and authentication. Similarly, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has issued over 78 million unique NINs till date.”

The deadlines for the NINSIM linkage has been extended on multiple occasions to allow Nigerians to freely comply with the policy.

The statement explained that the Federal Government also took into consideration the passionate appeals by several bodies- Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), civil societies, professional bodies and a host of others – for the extension of the deadlines in the past.

“Accordingly, Mr. President graciously approved the many requests to extend deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage.

“At this point, however, government has determined that the NIN-SIM policy implementation can proceed, as machinery has already been put in place to ensure compliance by citizens and legal residents.

“The implementation impacts on government’s strategic planning, particularly in the areas of security and socio-economic projections.

“Professor Pantami specially appreciates President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for his tremendous support.

“He also commends the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Dambatta; the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Abubakar Aziz, along with their management and staff, as well as other notable bodies whose efforts have seen to the monumental success of the exercise.

“The minister also extends his thanks to the telecommunication operators for their support towards the success recorded.

“The Honourable Minister also emphasized that enrolment for the NIN is a continuous exercise and NIN is a precondition for service in telcos, banks, Nigerian Immigration Service, and for several other government services,” the statement explained.

The statement, therefore, urged Nigerians and legal residents to visit NIN registration centres for the enrollment and issuance of valid NINs.

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