The Federal Government has extended the timeline for telecom providers to update SIM card registrations following a meeting on Monday with chief executives of Mobile Telephone Companies.
Making the announcement the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, said it had extended registrations to January 19 from December 30 for providers to add valid National Identification Numbers (NIN) to every SIM card registered in the country.
Oriental News Nigeria reports that the National Task Force on National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) Registration met on Monday 21st December, 2020, to take decision on widespread outcry over the initial timeline given by the NCC.
The meeting was chaired by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) with major stakeholders in the sector including Chairman-Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), NCC; Director-General (DG), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); DG, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC); Executive Commissioner, Technical Services (ECTS), NCC; Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management (ECSM), NCC; Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON); Chief Executive Officers of MTN, Airtel, Ntel, Glo, Smile, and 9Moble in attendance.
Based on the endorsement of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the meeting agreed on three weeks extension for subscribers with NIN from 30th December, 2020 to 19th January, 2021 and six weeks extension for subscribers without NIN from 30th December, 2020 to 9th February, 2021.
Also the NIMC has provided strategies to enable citizens to attend the registration in full compliance with Covid-19 protocols – particularly the use of facemasks which remains mandatory and maintenance of social distancing.
President Muhammadu Buhari appreciated Nigerians for their patience and commitment to update their Identities as well as commended all stakeholders for their compliance with the directives.
The President has also commended the efforts of the Task Force and urged all stakeholders to take advantage of the extension to link their SIM card with their NIN.
Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and verification charges remain suspended during these extensions, the task force insisted.
However, Africa’s biggest telecoms firm MTN , with the largest subscriber base in Nigeria, has said it could complete SIM card registrations within six months.
Nigeria created the SIM card registration rules in an attempt to stop terrorists and criminals from using unregistered SIMs as rising insecurity plagues the West African country.
The regulator this month directed telecoms companies to stop selling SIM cards while it audits compliance with SIM registration rules.