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Nigeria: Telcos Begin Total Disconnection Of Unregistered SIM Cards On Wednesday

The NCC insists that there will be no extension after the February 28 deadline.

Telecoms operators will, on Wednesday, commence total disconnection of unregistered SIM cards, including improperly registered SIM cards and all SIM cards not linked to the National Identification Number (NIN), following the directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to do so.

Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and spokesman for telecoms operators, Gbanga Adebayo, who confirmed this to THISDAY, via a telephone call, said the order to begin total disconnection came from NCC, adding that telecoms operators are under obligation to comply with the directive of the telecoms industry regulator.

“It is a directive that is in accordance with regulatory orders and we will commence total disconnection of all unregistered SIM cards and all SIM cards that are not linked to NIN.

“Since the NCC gave the directive December last year, we have carried out several campaigns to sensitise telecoms operators on the need to ensure proper registration of their SIM cards and to also link same to their NIN.

“We had even commenced partial disconnection, where SIM cards were blocked from generating calls, even though such SIM cards were still able to receive calls from other networks. The implication of the total disconnection which begins today, is that telecoms operators will bar all unregistered SIM cards, all improperly registered SIM cards and all SIM cards that are not linked to NIN, from receiving and making calls,” Adebayo said.

He, however, said those who would be affected by the total disconnection, would have to visit their telecoms service provider for registration and validation of SIM-NIN linkage.

The NCC who confirmed the commencement of total disconnection of unregistered SIM cards on Wednesday, insisted there was no going back on the February 28 deadline for the SIM disconnection.

The Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Reuben Muoka, told THISDAY in a telephone conversation that there would be no date extension.

“The February 28 deadline stands, and there is no going bank. There will be no date extension on the deadline. All those that will be affected, need to go back to their service provider for proper SIM registration after they must have shown evidence of NIN registration.

“Once the revalidation exercise is concluded, the customers’ SIM will be reactivated and the customer will start receiving and making calls again,” Muoka told THISDAY.

Reacting to some media report that the court had ordered NCC to extend the February 28 deadline, Muoka said the commission was not aware of any court order on extension of deadline, insisting there is no going back on the decision of NCC to commence total disconnection of unregistered |SIMs and SIMs that are not linked to NIN.

The NCC last December gave orders to telecoms operators (Telcos) to commence full barring of all unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards on their networks that have not been linked to the National Identification Number (NIN) of the SIM card holder.

The NCC had communicated all operators in writing, raising concern about insecurity such as kidnapping where kidnappers use mobile phones that are connected to SIM cards to make calls and ask for ransom before releasing their victims. 

Emma Okonji

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