Nigeria: NCC Announces Deactivation of Unlinked SIM Cards by End of February

NCC Announces Deactivation of Unlinked SIM Cards by End of February
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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has declared that SIM cards not linked to National Identity Numbers (NIN) will be deactivated by the conclusion of February, as stated by Aminu Maida, the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, during a press briefing on Tuesday.

Maida emphasized, “By the end of this month, SIMs without NIN will no longer work,” reinforcing the directive initiated in December 2020, compelling telecommunication firms to block calls from unregistered and unlinked NINs.

Initially, the policy aimed to assist authorities in combatting banditry and terrorism, addressing security concerns linked to unregistered SIM cards. Despite extended deadlines, a significant number of phone lines remain unlinked. However, the efficacy of the SIM-NIN linkage in mitigating security threats remains uncertain, with continued attacks perpetrated by terrorists.

Maida acknowledged the persistent challenge posed by pre-registered or illicitly registered SIM cards and the necessity to address these loopholes in the system. He underscored the commission’s commitment to holding telecom service providers accountable for delivering quality services to consumers.

He affirmed, “We intend to hold our licensees accountable for all services. After all, the consumers pay for the services and they expect the service to be at a certain level or point, so we will be holding our licensees accountable to ensure they deliver on their obligations to their licenses.”

Furthermore, Maida outlined the commission’s strategic shift towards data-driven decision-making, aiming to minimize subjectivity and enhance industry performance. Emphasizing the paramount importance of consumer interests, he underscored the need to prioritize consumer protection while ensuring regulatory compliance among licensees.

Maida elucidated the commission’s multifaceted approach, focusing on consumer welfare, industry stakeholders, and governmental collaboration. He highlighted the importance of addressing consumer grievances through enhanced monitoring mechanisms, enabling prompt resolution of issues and bolstering consumer satisfaction.

In conclusion, Maida reiterated the commission’s commitment to fostering a conducive telecommunications environment, balancing the interests of consumers, industry players, and governmental stakeholders. Through proactive measures and data-driven strategies, the NCC aims to uphold industry standards and safeguard consumer rights in the evolving telecommunications landscape.

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