BY PAUL SILAS
The Federal Government has directed all mobile operators in the country to disconnect every SIM card not synchronised with valid National Identity Number (NIN) by December 30, 2020.
This new order follows earlier directive on the suspension of new SIM registration by network operators and was reached 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.
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.
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 discussed and all stakeholders agreed that urgent drastic measures have now become inevitable to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process.
Other decisions taken for immediate implementation by all the 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.
The meeting ended with the setting up of a Ministerial Task Force comprising the Minister and all the CEOs among others as members to monitor compliance by all networks.
According to the task force, violations of this directive will be met with stiff sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license.
It urged subscribers to ensure that their NINs are captured in their SIM registration data and apologised for inconveniences that might arise from 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.