.says over 172m lines may have been linked
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has allayed the fears of subscribers over possible mass disconnections of telephone lines at the expiration of the deadline for the mandatory integration of the National Identity Number (NIN) with the SIM registration database. The telecoms regulator described the fears as unfounded, noting that with 43 million already issued NIN, about 172 million lines out of the 207 million recorded as of October 2020, may have been linked.
This, the Commission said, was because almost all Nigerians have multiple SIMs which means that a NIN could be linked with multiple numbers belonging to one person. “A recent survey conducted in Nigeria has shown that on average, there are now approximately 4 to 5 SIMs to every human subscriber. This explains the basis of allowing the linkage of up to 7 SIMs to 1 unique NIN in the recently launched Federal Government Portal,” the Commission said in a statement issued by its Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde.
“Thus, if there are 43 million Nigerians with NINs, this could account for about 172 million SIMs already linked to NINs. It is very important to emphasize that the current exercise of linking NIN to SIM(s) is for the common good of all Nigerians, as it has far-reaching benefits,” NCC added.
The telecoms regulator said that the fear of mass disconnection is based on the erroneous assumption that for every network or SIM connection, there is one unique human subscriber. It noted that with the advent of social media and an App-driven digital environment, network subscriptions went beyond human subscribers to include machines like PoS, Routers, Wi-Fi devices, electricity meters, CCTV, tracking devices, etc.
NCC added that the NIN, apart from enhancing general safety, would help in such vital exercises as National Budgeting, Policy Planning, Social Intervention programs, and many more. “The Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy has assured that the Government will continue to review the exercise in the light of experiences to ensure its smooth implementation,” the Commission stated.
On the Minister’s directive, all telecom subscribers in the country are expected to link the SIM registration with NIN by February 9, 2021, or risk being blocked from the networks. This has thrown many subscribers into a panicky mode as many are yet to register for the NIN.