By Jude Atupulazi
The Federal Government, Monday, directed telecommunication companies operating in the country, including MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile, to bar all outgoing calls on unlinked lines with immediate effect.
This means that henceforth all outgoing calls of all Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards not yet linked with the National Identification Number will no longer go through.
Unlinked lines are Subscriber Identity Modules not yet registered and linked with the National Identification Number (NIN) by users.
The government’s directive was announced in a statement jointly signed by the Director of Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ikechukwu Adinde, and the Head of Corporate Communications at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr Kayode Adegoke.
Over 125 million SIMs, according to the statement, had had their NINs submitted for linkage, verification, and authentication, with NIMC issuing over 78 million unique NINs to date.
The government explained that NIN-SIM linkage had been extended on multiple occasions to allow Nigerians to freely comply with the policy.
It added that the enrolment for NIN was a continuous exercise as it was a precondition for service in telecommunication companies, banks, Nigerian Immigration Service, and several other government agencies.
According to the NCC, at least 72.8 million subscribers risked being disconnected from telecommunication services following the latest directive.
Data from the commission indicates that there are 197.8 million active telecom subscribers in Nigeria as of February 2022.