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SIM Linkage: NCC Sets February Deadline, Warns Of Deactivation

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The executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Aminu Maida
The executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Aminu Maida.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reinstated its position that all SIM cards not linked to National Identity Numbers (NIN) will be deactivated by the end of February 2024. The move is part of the ongoing efforts to address the challenge of pre-registered or illegally registered SIM cards in the country.

Speaking on the development, the executive vice-chairman of NCC, Dr. Aminu Maida emphasised the need for a data-driven approach in decision-making to address the existing loopholes in the system. He acknowledged the attempts made in 2021 to link NIN with SIMs but highlighted the flaws in the process that allowed for the persistence of unregistered or illegally registered SIM cards.

“We are going to be very data-driven. All our decisions are going to be backed up by data as much as possible. We want to reduce subjectiveness and make the right decisions that will improve the industry,” he stated.

The NCC aims to hold licensees accountable for the services they offer to consumers, ensuring compliance with regulations and delivering on their obligations. The focus is on enhancing consumer satisfaction while safeguarding the interests of licensed operators.

“The commission also will be driven by the recognition that we have primarily three critical stakeholders in the industry. These are the consumers of telecom services, the industry, and the licensees. Our approach will thus be to work towards the expectations of these stakeholders in everything,” the executive vice-chairman explained.

Recognising the unique perspectives and expectations of consumers, the telecom industry and licensees, the NCC is committed to addressing their needs. The emphasis is on transparency, accountability and the protection of consumer interests.

The executive vice-chairman acknowledged the progress made by the NCC and security agencies in tracking criminals using illegal and unregistered SIM cards. Measures have been implemented to reduce the use of such SIM cards for criminal activities, and further actions are being taken to sanction those involved in the sale of illegal SIM cards.

Highlighting the importance of data privacy and security, Maida reiterated the NCC’s commitment to ensuring secure telecom services. He clarified that the NCC’s concern regarding spectrum allocation is limited to telecom spectrum and is based on the recommendations of the National Spectrum Council.

Addressing concerns about fair reporting, the executive vice-chairman appealed to media practitioners to report objectively and draw the commission’s attention when necessary.

In summary, the NCC’s announcement serves as a crucial reminder for individuals to link their SIM cards with NIN before the February deadline to avoid deactivation. The commission is determined to enhance the security and integrity of telecom services in Nigeria, prioritising the interests of consumers and ensuring compliance within the industry.

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