Nigerial Telecom Company Block Users Sim Card That are Yet To Be Link To Their NIN.

Nigeria Telecom Company Block Users Sim Card That are Yet To Be Link To Their NIN.

•Experts encourage impacted customers to contact operators’ outlets for corrections
•NCC requests that MNOs, agents, and consumers follow SIM replacement requirements

Yesterday, confusion, rage, and irritation erupted, particularly among customers who claimed to have been prohibited in error after correctly attaching their National Identification Numbers (NINs) to their Subscribers Identity Module (SIM) cards.

Remember that on Monday, April 4, the Federal Government authorized all telecommunications carriers in the nation to prohibit outbound calls from any unlinked SIMs on their network. This is intended to enforce the NIN-SIM regulation.

Nigerial Telecom Company Block Users Sim Card
The crowd at the NIMC center

According to the Guardian, 75 million lines have been blocked as a result of service providers, particularly mobile network operators (MNOs), complying with the rule. However, it appears that the ban has also affected some users who claimed to have confirmed and linked their NINs to SIM cards.

Abioye Owolabi, a Globacom user, told The Guardian yesterday that he had finished the connection and authentication process as long back as 2021, “but I was astonished this morning to learn that I cannot make calls.” Imagine not being able to make calls on my primary line. It’s incredible! I did all that was requested of me at the time and received proof that my line had been effectively joined.”

Esther Olatunji, another Globacom subscriber, said she was prohibited despite completing the NIN-SIM exercise. “I awoke this morning (yesterday) intending to make phone calls, only to learn that I am unable to do so.” I recall finishing the full NIN-SIM process around June 2021, and receiving confirmation of that result.”

Olatunji, on the other hand, stated that she dialed *109# and was “asked to provide my NIN, which I did.” After almost two hours, a message arrived that said, ‘Thank you for submitting your NIN. Once your NIN has been authenticated and linked to your line, you will receive an SMS confirmation.’ “I’m still waiting for them to release me.”

Nduka Maduka, a 9mobile user, said he was among the first Nigerians to successfully register and attach the SIM, but “I woke up this morning to learn that my line has been banned.” I’ll go to the 9mobile outlet to express my rage because I remember what I went through to authenticate and link back then, just for them to ban me again.”

Toeing the same line as others, Amaka Ndubusi bemoaned the inability of both her Airtel and MTN lines to call out. “I’m not sure whether I linked both then, but I know I got confirmation from one of the operators that after my line was confirmed, a confirmation text will arrive, but I’m not sure there was any confirmation text to that effect.”

MTN, on the other hand, apologized to impacted clients, noting that the decision was a Federal Government decree. It, in turn, requested that anyone who claimed their lines were prohibited despite being linked to their NINs send in their numbers for correction.”

MTN announced on its official Twitter account, @MTN180, “Y’ello. We sincerely apologize for any trouble this has given you. The message to apply outgoing call limits for clients who have not connected their National Identification Number (NIN) to their SIM is a Federal Government order.”

Meanwhile, large crowds were witnessed at several designated National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) offices, centers, and telecommunications operator shops. Crowds gathered at the NIMC Alausa headquarters, as well as certain outlets in Ejigbo, Ayobo, Surulere, and Ketu, among other places.

While some came to file complaints, others came to finish their NIN registration. A senior telecommunications official, who wanted anonymity, explained why certain connected lines were barred: “It might have been as a result of inadequate registration.” It might also be due to computer glitches. It’s also possible that the NIN has been linked to too many SIM cards. As a result, the previous connection may have been refused. The issue might potentially have been caused by the NIMC’s weak backend integration.

“Such subscribers can go to the service centers and get their problems resolved.” A banned SIM represents a financial loss for both companies and the government. As a result, no operator would be pleased to lose any subscriber.”

A top Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) employee, who did not want her name printed, told The Guardian that some preliminary issues are expected.

“We’re merely fine-tuning the system.” Some difficulties will arise during the early period, but they will be resolved. “Any concerned customer should go to the service providers, I mean the MNOs outlet, and the issues will be remedied,” she said.

Furthermore, the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has stated that its members have complied with the Federal Government’s directive to prohibit outgoing calls on subscriber lines that are not in compliance with the NIN-SIM linkage policy requirement that all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIMs) be linked with a National Identification Number (NIN).

Alton stated in a statement signed by its Chairman and Head of Operations, Gbenga Adebayo and Gbolahan Awonuga, that the instruction came after several extensions given by the Federal Government to allow customers to complete the NIN-SIM connection.

“Alton members are dedicated to following the guidelines and encourage telecommunications users who have not gotten and/or linked a NIN to their SIMs to do so at any of the approved centers.”

“We are dedicated to assisting the Federal Government of Nigeria and preserving individuals’ rights to communicate, exchange information freely and responsibly, and to enjoy privacy and security surrounding their data and usage of digital communications,” the organization added.

In a related move, the NCC has emphasized that MNOs, licensed agents, and telecommunications subscribers always follow the SIM registration, activation, and replacement processes outlined in the Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Registration.

The request was made at the sixth edition of the Telecom Consumer Town Hall on Radio (TCTHR), the commission’s radio-based interactive consumer outreach program broadcast under the aegis of NCC Digital Signature, the commission’s flagship radio program.

The show, which had NCC officials and MNO representatives in the studio, aired live on Treasure FM 98.5, Garden City, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, over the weekend with the theme: “Understanding SIM Replacement Procedures.”

During a radio sensitization program, Efosa Idehen, Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, stated that while operators must ensure strict compliance when registering their customers, SIM card owners must also be vigilant to ensure that they are properly captured, whether for new SIM activation or SIM replacement.

“As Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator, our responsibility is to ensure compliance with existing SIM activation and replacement processes to avoid difficulties that may occur in the case of stolen, lost, or damaged SIMs or the need to update SIM cards,” he added.

Idehen emphasized the importance of SIM registration to personal and national security, claiming that following the prescribed SIM replacement processes will prevent identity theft, fraudulent SIM switch, and other deceptive acts that may be carried out with a SIM card.

He informed the audience that, in accordance with the Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Registration, all SIM replacements must be performed in a controlled environment by service providers or their licensed agents in order to eliminate recurring complaints about inconclusive SIM replacement procedures. According to him, such incidents have resulted in subscribers being cheated by cyber criminals.

Idehen also warned telecom customers to be aware of bogus SIM registration agents posing as MNO employees with the purpose of defrauding unwary users. He claims that one of such agents’ antics is to request the one-time password (OTP) provided to the client for SIM activation, especially after the SIM replacement process has been completed. He cautioned telecom customers to be aware of such schemes.

In addressing the prerequisites for SIM replacement, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, NCC, indicated that the usage of NIN is mandatory in addition to all other criteria listed in the SIM Replacement Guidelines. He stated that the provision for SIM registration is included in the Revised National Identity Policy.

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