Calls from SIMs unlinked to NIN barred from this week

Some 16 months after the primary order, the federal authorities has lastly barred all outgoing calls from SIM playing cards not linked to National Identification Numbers (NIN) with rapid impact, partly to cease untraceable ransom calls by kidnappers.

The federal authorities initially gave a deadline to residents and native residents for them to hyperlink their SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) playing cards to their nationwide identification quantity (NIN) by 31 December 2020.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) mentioned in May 2021 that as a result of residents would entry state companies by their cell phones, linking the 2 will “significantly enhance the safety and security of Nigerians.” In explicit, it’s hoped the measure will sort out untraceable ransom requests.

The deadline had been pushed again 9 occasions.

But from Monday 4 April the federal authorities barred all outgoing calls from SIM playing cards not linked to NIN numbers.

Minister of Communications and the Digital Economy Pantami mentioned in an announcement that, of Nigeria’s 198 million cellphone connections, “As of date, over 125 million SIMs have had their NINs submitted for immediate linkage, verification and authentication. Similarly, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has issued over 78 million unique NINs to date … the Federal Government has directed all Telcos to strictly enforce the policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria.”

Significance of timing?

There has been a rise in terrorist exercise and kidnappings within the nation, with kidnappers contacting victims’ households through cellphone to demand massive ransom sums. They usually name with unregistered SIM playing cards that authorities are unable to hint. There are at present about 75 million cellphone traces not linked to an NIN, and people are those which were barred from making outgoing calls this week.

However, some are sceptical concerning the potential for fulfillment of this tactic. The chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, says it was tough to hint the abductors of March’s Abuja-Kaduna railway assaults as kidnappers used victims’ telephones for ransom calls.

Following the federal authorities’s newest directive to all telcos, Adebayo says: “I need to make it clear to Nigerians that there are no known unregistered SIM cards that are still on the network of any of telecoms service provider because all networks have been cleaned up and all unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards have been deactivated from networks.”

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