With over 200 million active mobile lines, mobile network operators in Nigeria will not be able to sell additional lines until the government is sure that all Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards are duly registered. The telecoms regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced the suspension of SIM sales today following and order from the government.
According to a statement signed by the NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Ikechukwu Adinde, “in line with the Federal Government's desire to consolidate the achievement of the SIM Card registration exercise of September, 2019, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), has directed the NCC to embark on another audit of the Subscriber Registration Database again.”
The objective of the audit exercise, the Commission said, is to verify and ensure compliance by Mobile Network Operators with the set quality standards and requirements of SIM Card Registration as issued by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Commission.
“Accordingly, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are hereby directed to immediately suspend the sale, registration and activation of new SIM Cards until the audit exercise is concluded, and Government has conveyed the new direction.
“However, where it is absolutely necessary, exemption may be granted in writing by the Commission following approval from the Federal Government.
“MNOs are to please note that non-compliance with this directive will be met with strict sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license. As the Minister has earlier directed in January, 2020, all citizens are urged to immediately secure Digital Identification from the National Identity Management Commission and submit it to the Network Operators,” the telecoms regulator stated.