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NIN disconnection: Subscribers kick against Friday Deadline, demand extension



NIN disconnection: Subscribers kick against Friday Deadline, demand extension

The National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers has pleaded with the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC to reconsider the deadline that was set for disconnecting mobile phone lines that are not linked to their means of identification, NIN.

TopNaija gathered that the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC stated that the deadline for phone number to NIN linkage is Friday, March 29, 2024. This was the second phase as the initial phase was on February, 28, 2024;.

Sadly, the subscribers’ body decried the inability of many to capture all the right details and information needed for the verification.

According to the NATS, there have been difficulties in uploading the captured data on the National Identity Management Commission’s server.

Adeolu Ogunbanjo, the President of NATCOMS, told media outlet, The PUNCH on Wednesday that the NCC needed to order telcos not to disconnect telephone lines, considering the difficulties subscribers are currently facing.

The third phase is slated to commence on April 15, 2024, as previously announced.

Earlier, the Director of Public Publicity at the NCC, Reuben Mouka, told The PUNCH, “We issued a publication that you can refer to. We specified certain deadlines and stipulated that subscribers who do not comply with the directive would be barred. And that has not changed.”

At the last deadline on February 28, 2024, about 40 million lines that were not linked to NIN were disconnected.

According to the NATCOM president, before the first deadline, subscribers had appealed to the NCC for a one-month extension. However, the NCC explained that there was no issue as the process was designed to occur in phases.

The Operator’s Consumer Centre stands as the primary location for consumers to complete their registration fully, with data provided there being verifiable.

However, the president noted that telecom agents were bypassing crucial information during the registration process, resulting in incomplete registrations of subscribers.

“For example, during interactions with telecom representatives, some agents fail to collect all required the information from subscribers.

“If a subscriber cannot provide certain details, agents often leave the registration incomplete. Consequently, these incomplete registrations are deemed unverifiable,” he said.

Further, Ogunbanjo noted that NIMC also shares responsibility in this process.

He said the challenges often arise when telecom companies attempt to upload collected data on NIMC’s server, owing to network issues.

“These network difficulties, beyond the control of subscribers, hinder the timely completion of the registration process,” 
he said.

“NIMC’s inadequate network infrastructure exacerbates the problem. While they intend to accept data uploads, technical issues prevent them from doing so effectively.

“We urge the NCC to address NIMC’s shortcomings, improve their services, and acknowledge that meeting the deadline will be challenging given the current issues,” the president added.

NIMC is a statutory Nigerian organisation that operates the country’s national identity management systems.

NIMC’s enrollment figures as of December 31, 2023, stand at over 104.16 million unique records.

About 530,345 Nigerians in Diaspora have gotten NINs. 59.12 million male and 45.04 million female Nigerians have NINs.

When The PUNCH reached out to NIMC for comments on technical glitches, the Head of Corporate Communications, Kayode Adegoke, clarifies that the commission’s server has consistently remained operational, debunking reports suggesting otherwise.

He emphasizes that the NIMC’s services are fully functional and accessible to all users

“Our server has never been down. You can go to the various NIN centres and confirm.

Adegoke further explained the process for subscribers to link their NIN to their SIM cards,

“These individuals only need to submit their NIN and complete the verification process through their respective telcos providers.

He encouraged those who have not yet obtained their NIN to visit any NIMC centre for enrollment.

Adegoke said that once you sign up, you can expect to receive your NIN within three hours.

However, if you need to fix mistakes like incorrect birth dates, it could take around 72 hours to complete the process.

Last week, the National Identity Management Commission and the NCC announced a partnership to make it easier for people to link their NIN with their SIM cards.

Both agencies have restated their commitment to making the process of linking the NIN and SIM card easier and more efficient.

They understand that this initiative is crucial for improving security and making services better all over the country.

The SIM-NIN linkage initiative is an important move that aims to make subscriber data more reliable and strengthen security in the telecommunications industry.

The Nigerian government introduced the NIN-SIM linkage policy in December 2020. All phone users in Nigeria need to link their SIM cards with their NIN.

Last December, the NCC made a rule that says all telecom companies in Nigeria, like MTN, Airtel, and Globacom, have to block phone lines if the subscribers haven’t given their NINs by February 28, 2024.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project warned that they would take legal action against the NCC if they don’t reverse the directive telling network providers to block phone lines of people who haven’t linked their SIM cards to their NINs.

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