FG reviews policy for SIM card registration and usage

The federal government of Nigeria has rolled out an updated policy for SIM card registration and usage.

The minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Ali Pantami, in a statement signed by his aide, Femi Adeluyi, noted that the National Identity Number (NIN) would be required for Nigerians to register their new SIM cards while for foreigners would use their passports and visas.

According to Adeluyi, “This is in line with the Powers of the Minister as stated in Section 25(1) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003- “the Minister shall, in writing, from time to time notify the Commission or and express his views on the general policy direction of the Federal Government in respect of the communications sector.”

The updated policy is expected to include the following provisions:

  • — Ensure that the National Identity Number (NIN) becomes a prerequisite for Nigerians registering new SIM cards (while for foreigners, their passports and visas should be used), while already registered SIM cards are to be updated with National Identity Number (NIN) before 1st December, 2020;
  • — Ensure that only fully accredited agents support the SIM card registration process without pre-registering SIM cards themselves, while the eventual registration should be done by the operators;
  • — There should be a maximum number of SIM cards that can be tied to a single individual, possibly a maximum of 3;
  • — Ensure that no unregistered SIMs are ever allowed on mobile networks;
  • — Ensure that subscribers can easily check the number of SIM cards registered to their name, along with the associated phone numbers and networks;
  • — Ensure that mobile network operators fortify their networks against cyber-attacks and ensure that they adhere to the provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR); and
  • — Ensure that SIM cards that have been used to perpetrate crimes are permanently deactivated.
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