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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given telecommunications operators in the country two weeks within which they should block SIM cards that are not registered with the National Identity Numbers (NIN).

It warned that any telecom operators that failed to comply with the directive risked outright withdrawal of its licence or heavy penalty.

Last week the government through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ordered the suspension of new SIM registration by telecom operators to allow an auditing of duly registered SIM cards by networks operators.

A statement on Tuesday by the Director of Public Affairs of the NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde noted that “following the earlier directive on the suspension of new SIM registration by network operators, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) convened an urgent meeting of key stakeholders in the Communications industry on Monday, December 14, 2020.”

“The meeting had in attendance the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), as well as the CEOs and Management staff of all service providers in the industry,” Adinde said.

He explained that the gathering examined “the need to consolidate the achievements of last year’s SIM registration audit and improve the performance and sanity of the sector.”

According to him all “stakeholders agreed that urgent drastic measures have now become inevitable to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process.”

He said the meeting resolved that the “following decisions were taken for immediate implementation by all Network Operators: Affirmation of the earlier directive to totally suspend registration of NEW SIMs by all operators.

“Operators to require ALL their subscribers to provide valid National Identification Number (NIN) to update SIM registration records.

“The submission of NIN by subscribers to take place within two weeks (from today December 16, 2020 and end by 30 December, 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 CEOs (among others) as members is to monitor compliance by all networks.

“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.”

The statement noted that all inconveniences which might be occasioned by the directive are deeply regretted.

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