Telecommunications companies, have begun implementation of the Federal Government’s directive to restrict outgoing calls on all unlinked lines following the expiration of the deadline on March 31, 2022.
Over 72 million subscribers have, so far been barred from making calls on their SIMs. The Federal Government of Nigeria on Monday, directed telecommunications companies to enforce compliance with its National Identification Number-Subscriber Identity Module (NIN-SIM) policy by restricting outgoing calls on all unlinked lines.
In a joint statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, and the Head, Corporate Communications at the Nigeria Identity Management Commission, Kayode Adegoke, it was pointed out that the deadline for the NIN-SIM linkage had been extended on multiple occasions to allow Nigerians to comply with the policy.
“Accordingly, Mr. President graciously approved the many requests to extend deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage. At this point, however, the government has determined that the NIN-SIM policy implementation can proceed, as machinery has already been put in place to ensure compliance by citizens and legal residents.
“The implementation impacts on government’s strategic planning, particularly in the areas of security and socio-economic projections.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the implementation of the policy with effect from April 4, 2022. Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all telcos to strictly enforce the policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria.
“Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage policy from April 4, 2022,” the statement shared.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has revealed that there were 197.77 million active telecom subscribers as of February 2022. 125 million subscribers have submitted their NINs for verification, leaving 72.77 million subscribers who will be affected by the Federal Government’s new directive as they have commenced implementation.
The President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, said the verification exercise needed time before the policy could be implemented, describing the move as premature.
“I think it should be an ongoing exercise. In case the minister now wants to put a timeline, let him meet with the operators to know how many people have been linked.
“We need to know the percentage of progress made. There was no final notice, we only had three extra days after March 31st, which is not tidy. We use these phones for our various businesses. This will collapse businesses.” Ogunbanjo said.
A source from NCC has said the affected subscribers would be able to still receive calls, send and receive text messages, and use the Internet, since only outgoing calls will be barred.
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