LEGAL/POLICY

Nigeria Extends Deadlines For Synchronisation of SIM Data With National Identification Number

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  • Orders Cancellation Of USSD And Verification Fees

By Angeline Mgbele, Correspondent Abuja

Determined to ensure the proper registration of subscriber identification module(SIM) cards in the national network and to strengthen the security ecosystem, against the background of the increasing wave of crimes and criminality, the Nigerian government has ordered the extension of deadlines for the integration of SIM data with the National Identification Number(NIN).

Discussants on the Nigerian Television Authority Good Morning Nigeria(NTAGMN), December 20, 2020 namely Chairman of the Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria(ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria(ATCON), Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani, Chief Executive Officer(CEO) VERIFYME NIGERIA Esigie Aguele and the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission(NIMC) Engr. Aliu Aziz Abubakar pondered over a likely extension of the deadlines.

While Adebayo stated that all stakeholders were working together as a digital industry on the matter, he said the delay in the synchronization of SIM data with NIN, was not an infraction on the part of telecommunications service providers. Nnamani stated that while synchronization of SIM data with NIN was a welcome idea, the issue of deadline for completion of the exercise, was no challenge from telcos perspective. Aguele, on his part, explained that Nigeria could overcome the challenge with all stakeholders synergizing as the model was successful in other climes. Abubakar was more concerned with the immediate take-off of the exercise in keeping with the policy direction given by the government.

Cyber Era learns that the National Task Force on NIN and SIM Registration met December 21 2020.

The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami with major stakeholders in the sector including Chairman-Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO), NCC; Director-General (DG), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); DG, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC); Executive Commissioner, Technical Services (ECTS), NCC; Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management (ECSM), NCC; Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON); Chief Executive Officers of MTN, Airtel, Ntel, Glo, Smile, and 9Moble in attendance.

The meeting reached the following resolutions:

· Three (3) weeks extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020 to January 19, 2021.

· Six (6) weeks extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30 , 2020 to February 9, 2021.

· NIMC has provided strategies to enable citizens to attend the registration in full compliance with COVID-19 protocols – particularly the use of facemasks which remains mandatory and maintenance of social distancing.

· The President appreciates Nigerians for their patience and commitment to update their Identities; The Federal Government also thanks all stakeholders for their compliance with the directives.

· Mr. President has also commended the efforts of the Task Force and urged all stakeholders to take advantage of the extension to link their SIM card with their NIN.

· Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and verification charges remain suspended during these extensions.

Authenticating the resolutions on behalf of the Ministerial Task Force were the EVC/CEO of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta and the DG of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu Aziz Abubakar.

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