Politics

BREAKING: No Extension- Panic As MTN, GLO, Airtel, Others Block 12 Million Sim Cards

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has firmly stated that there will be no extension of the February 28, 2024 deadline for the linkage of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards to National Identification Numbers (NINs).

Consequently, telecommunication companies have been instructed to deactivate 12 million lines that have not been linked to their owners’ NINs after the deadline.

Confirming this directive, the Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Reuben Mouka, emphasized, “We already issued a public notice in this regard and all the information. If there was an extension, NCC would have communicated that. But as far as I know, there is no extension.”

In a notice issued in December 2023, the NCC mandated telcos to deactivate SIMs not linked to their owners’ NINs by February 28, 2024. Additionally, it directed Global Satellite Mobile Communications firms to deactivate those with submitted but unverified NINs by March 29, 2024, and suspend services for those with less than five lines linked to an unverified NIN by April 15, 2024.

Gbenga Adebayo, the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), affirmed telecom operators’ compliance with the NCC’s directive. He disclosed, “About 12 million SIM cards may not have been linked to NIN. Some of these SIM cards work on modems and mifi devices. According to the regulatory directives, those numbers that are not properly linked to NIN will have services withdrawn to them by midnight today. We stand by that regulatory directive and we are going to comply.”

Adebayo dismissed speculations about a possible deadline extension, asserting that the deadline should have been enforced last year. He stated, “No, the regulator has made it clear that there won’t be any further extension. Let us remember that this ought to have happened last year, but it was extended by the regulator till the 28th of February, 2024.”