The federal government has ordered telecommunication companies to bar calls from phone numbers that are yet to be linked to their National Identity Numbers (NIN) from today, April 4.
Subscribers who are yet to link their phone numbers to their NINs will not be allowed to make calls until the linkage is done.
This was made known in a statement by the spokespersons of the Nigeria Communication commission (NCC), Ikechukwu Adinde, and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Kayode Adegoke, on Monday.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the implementation of the Policy with effect from April 4, 2022,” It said.
“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,” it added.
The directive is coming after the government extended the deadline for the connection the 10th time on March 31.
The compulsory linkage began in December 2020 for two weeks when the government directed telecommunication companies to block calls from unregistered/unlinked NINs.
The policy was expected to help the authorities in fighting bandits and terrorists who kidnap and kill innocent people daily.
But the short notice of the directive prompted criticisms.
With the limited number of registration centres, additional centres were established including private locations that were licensed by NIMC to register and link phone number
Despite the centres and the extension of deadlines, many phone lines are yet to be linked. More than a year after, it is not clear how much the phone-NIN connection has helped in fighting insecurity as terrorists have continued to attack Nigerians and the perpetrators are rarely caught.
According to the statement, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, applauded Nigerians and legal residents for their commitment during the exercise.
It said over 125 million SIMs have had their NINs submitted for immediate linkage, verification and authentication while over 78 million NINs have been generated.
“Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all Telcos to strictly enforce the Policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria.
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,” it said.
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