Following the initial directive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to suspend new SIM card sales and activations, industry stakeholders met with the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami on December 14, 2020.
The meeting was to provide further clarify on the NCC’s directive and to chart a course of action, specifically regarding:
- Affirmation of the directive to totally suspend the registration of new SIMs by all operators.
- Operators to require all their subscribers to provide valid NINs to update SIM registration records.
- The submission of NINs by subscribers to take place within two weeks (from December 16, 2020, to December 30, 2020).
- After the deadline, all SIMS without NINs are to be blocked from the networks.
- A Ministerial Task Force comprising the Minister and all the mobile network operator Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), among others, is to monitor compliance by all networks.
- Violations of this directive will be met with stiff sanctions, including the possibility of the withdrawal of operators’ operating licences.
The primary aim of the exercise is to create one centralised, reliable identification database.
On December 21, 2020, the National Task Force on NIN and SIM Registration met with the Honourable Minister and major stakeholders and extended the deadline for subscribers to update their SIM registration records with NIN as follows:
- Three weeks’ extension for subscribers with NIN (From December 30, 2020, to January 19, 2021); and
- Six weeks’ extension for subscribers without NIN (from December 30, 2020, to February 9, 2021).
These extensions provide an opportunity for our subscribers to update their SIM records.
According to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), about 43 million NINs are registered on the NIMC database. This means that approximately 1 in 4 Nigerians have a NIN.
As an industry, and as MTN Nigeria Communications PLC (MTN) in particular, we welcome the deadline extension and will work to play a meaningful role in resolving this matter.
In this regard, MTN and other operators have been issued a NIN registration licence, which will result in the integration of our registration system with the NIMC and facilitate NIN enrolment in the country. We have proactively enabled different interfaces to allow customers to upload their existing NINs. So far over eight million subscribers have uploaded their NINs.
The directive means that while recharge activity and other services continue to be available, operators cannot add new subscribers.
MTN Nigeria remains committed to supporting the Government’s efforts to create a secure and sustainable digital economy and steadfast in our drive to assure compliance with regulations.