SIM-NIN linkage: Over 40m blocked lines to be forfeited

The Nigerian Communications Commission has said that the over 40 million telephone lines barred after failing to link to the National Identity Numbers face the risk of being forfeited soon.

NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Mouka disclosed this on Tuesday in an interview with the Newsmen.

According to him, the telephone lines barred by their telecommunication operators have breached the February 28, 2024 deadline issued by the commission mandating telecom customers to link their Subscriber Identity Modules (SIMs) to their NIN.

He said, “If the barred lines are not acted upon in the next 180 days. They won’t be able to receive calls but will only be able to text and make calls. But after the stipulated days, they would be barred from making calls too. And might forfeit their lines to their respective service provider within 365 days.”

“The people whose lines are barred need to enroll for their NIN if they don’t have one at any of the registered centers. They can then take the number to their network providers to get their numbers restored.

“The implication of not verifying their numbers will have them forfeited,” he added.

Muoka maintained that the retrieval of lines is only done by the network providers who are saddled with the responsibility.

While fielding questions on the possibility of taking advantage of the registration of linking at least 28 lines to a NIN, the NCC spokesperson noted that whoever links such SIM that is used to perpetrate evil or crime will be called to answer for it as their identity is will be traced as the perpetrator.

He therefore warned against such acts while urging Nigerians to link their NIN before the lines are forfeited.

In a December 2023 notice, the NCC had asked telcos to bar SIMs that had not been linked to their owners’ NINs by February 28, 2024.

Meanwhile, Muoka ruled out an extension of the deadline, warning that telcos that failed to enforce the deadline would be sanctioned.