The Federal Government has issued an ultimatum to all telecommunications operators in the country to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIMs) without National Identification Number (NIN).
It also ordered the network operators to ask all their subscribers to provide valid NIN to update their records and suspend SIM registration.
These formed parts of the resolutions adopted for immediate implementation by all network operators at an urgent meeting of key stakeholders in the communications industry held in Abuja.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, noted in a statement on Tuesday that the meeting was convened on Monday by the Minister, Dr Isa Pantami.
According to him, the meeting resolved that the submission of NIN by subscribers would take place between December 16 and 30, 2020.
The government stated that after the deadline, all SIMs without NINs should be blocked from the networks while a Ministerial Task Force comprising the minister and all the CEOs, among others, as members would monitor compliance by all networks.
It warned that violations of the directives by any network operator would be met by stiff sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating licences.
Adinde explained that the meeting followed the earlier directive on the suspension of new SIM registration by network operators.
The need to consolidate the achievements of last year’s SIM registration audit and improve the performance and sanity of the sector was exhaustively discussed and all stakeholders agreed that urgent drastic measures had become inevitable to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process.
Those in attendance included the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Other were top officials of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), as well as the CEOs and management staff of all service providers in the industry.
To this end, the following decisions were taken for immediate implementation by all Network Operators:
i.Affirmation of the earlier directive to totally suspend the registration of NEW SIMs by all operators.
ii.Operators to require ALL their subscribers to provide valid National Identification Number (NIN) to update SIM registration records.
iii.The submission of NIN by subscribers to take place within two weeks (from today December 16, 2020 and end by 30 December 2020).
iv.After the deadline, ALL SIMs without NINs are to be blocked from the networks.
v.A Ministerial Task Force comprising the Minister and all the CEOs (among others) as members is to monitor compliance by all networks.
vi.Violations of this directive will be met by stiff sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license.
The general public is hereby urged to ensure that their NINs are captured in their SIM registration data.
All inconveniences which might be occasioned by this directive are deeply regretted.