NIGERIANS without a National Identity Number (Nin) will no longer be allowed to make telephone calls following an agreement between the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
Under an ambitious plan to combat identity fraud, unmask terrorists and criminals, address census misinformation, Nigeria has introduced an Nin policy, which mandates everyone to be registered. In December 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the programme was part of the administration’s security and social policy.
At the time, President Buhari gave all Nigerians up until April 4 to get a Nin, saying that anyone who had not got one by then would not be able to buy Sim cards and thus make phone calls. Today’s deadline for the Nin-Sim linkage has been extended on multiple occasions to allow Nigerians to comply with the policy.
Passionate appeals were made by several bodies including the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria for the extension of the deadlines in the past. This lead to the deadline being extended several times until today, with the government saying it has now put the machinery in place to ensure compliance by citizens and legal residents.
Communications and digital economy minister Isa Ali Pantami has commended Nigerians and legal residents for their support during the exercise. According to the Nigeria Communications Commission, so far, over 125, Sims have had their Nins submitted for immediate linkage, verification and authentication.
So far, NIMC has issued over 78m unique Nins till date. With the deadline for registration being today, the federal government has directed all telecommunication companies to strictly enforce the policy on all Sims issued in Nigeria.
Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the Nin-Sim linkage policy as from today. Subscribers of such lines are advised to link their Sims to their NINs before the telecommunication firms can lift the restriction on their lines.
Affected individuals are advised to register for their Nins at designated centres and thereafter link the Nins to their Sims through the channels provided by NIMC and the providers, including the NIMC mobile App. In addition, Mr Pantami also emphasised that Nin enrolment is a continuous exercise as it is a precondition for service in banks, the Nigerian Immigration Service and for several other government services.