NIN-SIM Linkage: NCC sensitises telecom subscribers on October 31 deadline

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has called on telecoms subscribers to complete their NIN-SIM integration process before the October 31 deadline to avoid disconnection.

The federal government had in the past, sensitised the public on the need to integrate their National Identity Numbers (NINs) with their Subscriber Identity Modules (SIMs) and had set October 31, 2021, as deadline after extending the initial deadline severally.

The NCC made the call during the NCC Digital Signature (NDS) live radio programme, which hosted the second episode of Telecoms Consumer Town Hall on Radio (TCTHR) recently to discuss the benefits of NIN-SIM integration.

In the studio during the TCTHR programme, were representatives of the NCC, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and officials of telecoms operators. The live, phone-in programme provided opportunity for listeners to call and get clarifications on issues around the NIN-SIM integration exercise.

Speaking during the live programme, the Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, advised Nigerians to make use of the extension of the NIN-SIM integration exercise till October 31, 2021, to enroll with NIMC, get their NIN and link it to their SIMs. “Soon, people without NIN will be denied of necessary services that play vital roles in their lives including acquisition of driver’s license and international passport,” Adinde said.

He said that the exercise would significantly enhance national security as NIN is the primary identity for Nigerians, stressing that in line with federal government’s commitment to ensure that Nigeria deploys technology to improve service delivery, the NIN-SIM database would enhance citizens’ access to government services.

The Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC, Efosa Idehen, noted that most Nigerians were still using SIMs without unique identification, as they were yet to link their NINs to their SIMs, pointing out that “those SIMs without unique identification could be used to commit crimes that remain untraceable.”

While explaining that security should be the responsibility of all citizens and not be left in the hands of government alone, Idehen urged telecoms consumers to take advantage of the approaching deadline to link their NIN to their SIM to avoid denial of essential services in future.

Also speaking on the programme, the Regional Director, NIMC in Lagos, Ms. Funmi Opesanwo, said submission of NIN to a mobile network provider would help in providing a means of verifying an individual’s identity and safeguarding both identity and mobile line.

Opesanwo explained that the NIN would become the first layer of verifying everything about a citizen, stating that other relevant database in other sectors of the economy are being integrated into the NIMC database for proper harmonisation.

She said: “For instance, Bank Verification Number (BVN) is being harmonised with NIMC database. Therefore, BVN holders have automatically been allocated NIN and we advise BVN holders to dial *346# with the mobile number linked to BVN to confirm their integration. However, NINs generated via BVN must be verified and validated by NIMC through proper registration and biometrics capture at an enrollment center.”

The representatives of telecoms companies, including Globacom, MTN, Airtel and 9mobile, who attended the programme also answered series of questions from their consumers on the phone-in programme.

The TCTHR is a consumer outreach programme of the NCC previously held in semi-urban areas but now modified to be radio-based, in order to reach every telecom consumer. It is also part of the commission’s response to the efforts of the federal government to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The first episode of the programme, aimed at empowering consumers through information sharing, education and protection initiatives, was held in Kano in August, 2021, on NCC Digital Signature.

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