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FG makes NIN compulsory for old and new SIM cards


Following the directive by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, the National Identity Number [NIN] is to become a requirement for the registration of new SIM cards in Nigeria.

Pantami, in a statement by his Technical Assistant on Information Technology, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, on Wednesday, also directed that the registration of all existing SIM cards would be updated with the NIN before December 1, 2020.

The statement explained that the revision of the guidelines on SIM registration was informed by feedback from security agencies.

Telecommunications operators are also to restrict the number of SIM cards that can be registered by an individual.

The statement read,

“The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, has directed the Nigerian Communications Commission to revise the Policy on SIM Card registration and usage.

“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 revision of the policy is based on the feedback received from the security agencies following the successful revalidation of improperly registered SIM cards in September 2019 and the blocking of those that failed to revalidate their SIMs.

“The updated policy is expected to include the following provisions, amongst others:

“Ensure that the National Identity Number 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 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 three.”

The minister also directed NCC to ensure that no unregistered SIM cards are ever allowed on mobile networks.

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NCC was equally mandated to make sure that subscribers can easily check the number of SIM cards registered to their name, along with the associated phone numbers and networks.

In the same vein, the new SIM card registration policy would ensure that mobile network operators fortify their networks against cyberattacks, and also adhere to the provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation.

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In line with the policy, SIM cards that have been used to perpetrate crimes would be permanently deactivated.

The NCC is to provide the minister with progress reports on the implementation of the revised policy.