The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has ordered all network providers operating within the country to deactivate all SIM cards that are not registered with the owners’ National Identity Number (NIN) two weeks from now.
All network operators, including MTN, Airtel, GLO, and 9mobile, are expected to start counting down from now till December 30 before they let down the hammer.
This directive came out of a meeting held amongst stakeholders in the communication sector on Monday.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, was the convener of the meeting.
The timeline seems relatively short
Nigeria will be risking high congestions within service centers of network providers if every SIM owner has to link their NINs with their SIMs within such a short period.
This might not be the best time to take on such a risk, considering the recent news about the second waze of COVID-19.
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Guess who’s experiencing more of a panic right now?
If you have any Nigerian friend who has refused to get their national ID, you might want to check in on them.
Now might be the perfect time to make that funny face you’ve been waiting to make for a while and back it up with “I told you so.”
Not every Nigerian who owns a SIM has a National ID card.
In essence, not all Nigerians have National Identity Numbers.
While this might not be justifiable for younger folks, we sure can understand with much younger folks.
Considering the amount of time it takes for people who apply to get theirs finally, they might not meet up with the deadline.
Sadly, this could mean that parents might not be able to reach their kids to check up on them while they’re out for work.
This is inevitable if the Kids own smartphones with SIMs but do not have a NIN.
However, we cannot underestimate the importance of what the NCC is attempting to achieve.
There are many benefits of syncing citizens’ information across the board.
For one, it helps the government keep tabs on each citizen’s activity from one central point.
That way, the government can perform its oversight function much better and reduce fraudulent activities among citizens.
Consider the NIN as your National BVN.
For instance, without BVNs, customers can maintain a stellar track record with one bank and use that to gain access to credit facilities while accumulating debts on another account with another bank.
With the BVN, users’ entire track record is brought to bear, and lenders can better understand the customer’s actual behaviour.
Connecting NINs to SIM cards work somewhat like that.
As you’d expect, not so many Nigerians are happy with the abrupt decision.
Many upset Nigerians have taken to their Twitter handles to air their complaints.
Below are some of the reactions from disgruntled Nigerians;
#NewsFlash: The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) gives telecommunications operators (MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9Mobile and others) two weeks to block all SIM cards that are not registered with the National Identity Numbers (NIN).
This country tire me o ☹️ pic.twitter.com/1JMQebtOAo
— Chiben (@chibenofficial) December 15, 2020
Getting NINs connected to SIM cards is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
We hope that the government will extend the timelines to ensure that more people can get this done without risking high congestions at service centers.
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