Over 72 million Subscribers will be barred from making calls by MNOs, a directive from NCC.

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has formerly directed Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to bar over 72.77 million active telecommunication subscribers from making calls on their SIMs.

The NCC’s directive falls in line the Federal Government’s initial directives to telecommunication companies to restrict such subscribers from making calls for failure to link their SIM Cards with the mandatory National Identification Number.

On Monday, the FG told NCC to ensure that affected telecommunications companies enforce compliance with its National Identification Number-Subscriber Identity Module policy by restricting outgoing calls on all unlinked lines as the deadline for the verification expired on March 31.

This directive was contained in a joint statement signed by Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, the Director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission, and Mr Kayode Adegoke, the Head, Corporate Communications at the Nigeria Identity Management Commission.

Available statistics show that 125 million SIMs have submitted their NINs for linkage, while over 78 million unique NINs have been issued.

It said the deadline for the NIN-SIM linkage had been extended on multiple occasions to allow Nigerians to comply with the policy.

It stated, “Accordingly, Mr. President graciously approved the many requests to extend deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage. At this point, however, the government has determined that the NIN-SIM policy implementation can proceed, as machinery has already been put in place to ensure compliance by citizens and legal residents.

“The implementation impacts on government’s strategic planning, particularly in the areas of security and socio-economic projections.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the implementation of the policy with effect from April 4, 2022. Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all telcos to strictly enforce the policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria.

“Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage policy from April 4, 2022.”

The Federal Government added that subscribers yet to link their SIMs to their NINs should do so before their lines are completely restricted.

According to the NCC, there were 197.77 million active telecom subscribers as of February 2022. 125 million subscribers have submitted their NINs for verification, leaving 72.77 million subscribers on the receiving end of the Federal Government’s new directive.

Recall that many Nigerians have questioned the potency of the SIM-NIN linkage as a result of kidnapping incidences and other social vices connected to telecom subscribers.

However, industry watchers believe that the current steps taken by the NCC will be productive in view of national security.