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NIN-SIM Linking: NCC Clarifies On Mass Disconnection Fears by Subscribers

Following the earlier directive by the Minister of Communication, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami mandating the linking of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) and the National Identity Number (NIN), and the subsequent constitution of the National Task Force on the NIN and SIM registration, telecom subscribers had expressed fears of being disconnected from the network of mobile operators.

However, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the nation’s telecom regulator, in a swift reaction, has issued clarification to dispel the fears of subscribers and the general public.

According to a statement signed by the Commission’s Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, the NCC noted: “The attention of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been drawn to numerous publications in both print and electronic media regarding the unfounded fears of mass disconnection of telephone subscribers as a result of the ongoing linkage of SIM Registration Records with the National Identity Number (NIN).

It is therefore necessary for the Commission to issue this clarification in order to allay the fears of subscribers and the general public.”

The statement further noted that most of the publications are based on the erroneous assumption that for every network or SIM connection, there is one unique human subscriber.

“However, with the advent of social media and App-driven digital environment, network subscription went beyond human subscribers to include machines like PoS, Routers, Wi-Fi devices, electricity meters, CCTV, tracking devices etc.,” the NCC noted.

It cited a recent survey conducted in Nigeria showing that on average, there are now approximately 4 to 5 SIMs to every human subscriber. “This explains the basis of allowing the linkage of up to 7 SIMs to 1 unique NIN in the recently launched Federal Government Portal.”

The NCC elaborated: “Thus, if there are 43 million Nigerians with NINs, this could account for about 172 million SIMs already linked to NINs. It is very important to emphasize that the current exercise of linking NIN to SIM(s) is for the common good of all Nigerians, as it has far reaching benefits.”

Apart from enhancing the general safety, the linking will help in such vital exercises like National Budgeting, Policy Planning, Social Intervention programs and many more.

The Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy had assured that the Government will continue to review the exercise in the light of experiences to ensure its smooth implementation.

“We call on all our media partners, publishers and reporters to always endeavour to seek clarification from the Commission before going to the press, especially on sensitive issues,” the NCC concluded with a plea.

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