By Angeline Mgbele, Correspondent Abuja
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), have forced telecommunications sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC), to issue a clarification in order to allay the fears of subscribers and the general public.
According to a statement from the Director of Public Affairs (DPA) of NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, most of these publications are based on the erroneous assumption that for every network or SIM connection, there is one unique human subscriber.
Dr. Adinde explained however, that 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 et cetera.
A recent survey conducted in Nigeria has shown 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.
Said Adinde: “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 our general safety, this 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 has assured that the Government will continue to review the exercise in the light of experiences to ensure its smooth implementation.”
The NCC has called on all its media partners, publishers and reporters to always endeavour to seek clarification from the Commission before going to the press, especially on sensitive issues.