The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reminded and urged telecoms consumers to link their National Identity Numbers (NINs) with their Subscriber Identity Modules (SIMs) before the expiration of the deadline of October 31, 2021, set by the Federal Government.
The Commission gave the admonition during the NCC Digital Signature (NDS) radio programme, which hosted the 2nd episode of Telecoms Consumer Town Hall on Radio (TCTHR) live on a radio station in Lagos at the weekend to discuss the benefits of NIN-SIM integration.
In the studio during the TCTHR programme were representatives of the NCC, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and officials of telecoms operators. The live, phone-in programme provided an opportunity for listeners to call and get clarifications on concerns and issues around the NIN-SIM integration exercise.
Speaking during the live programme, Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, advised Nigerians to make use of the extension of the NIN-SIM integration exercise to October 31, 2021, to enrol with NIMC, get their NIN and link it to their SIMs. “Soon, people without NIN will be denied of necessary services that play vital roles in their lives including the acquisition of driver’s license, international passport,” he said.
On the benefits of the NIN-SIM integration, Adinde said the exercise will significantly enhance national security as NIN is the primary identity for Nigerians, stressing that in line with Federal Government’s commitment to ensure that Nigeria deploys technology to improve service delivery, the NIN-SIM database will enhance citizens’ access to government services.
In the same vein, the Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC, Efosa Idehen, noted that most Nigerians are still using SIMs without unique identification, as they were yet to link their NINs to their SIMs, pointing out that “those SIMs without unique identification could be used to commit crimes that remain untraceable.”
While explaining that security should be the responsibility of all citizens and not be left in the hands of the government alone, Idehen urged telecoms consumers to take advantage of the October 31, 2021 deadline to enrol with NIMC, get their NIN and link same with their SIM to avoid denial of essential services in future.
Also speaking on the programme, Regional Director, NIMC in Lagos, Funmi Opesanwo, noted that submission of NIN to a mobile network provider helps in providing a means of verifying an individual’s identity and safeguarding both identity and mobile line.
She explained that NIN will become the first layer of verifying everything about a citizen, stating that other relevant databases in other sectors of the economy are being integrated into the NIMC database for proper harmonisation.
“For instance, Bank Verification Number (BVN) is being harmonised with NIMC database. Therefore, BVN holders have automatically been allocated NIN and we advise BVN holders to dial *346# with the mobile number linked to BVN to confirm their integration. However, NINs generated via BVN must be verified and validated by NIMC through proper registration and biometrics capture at an enrollment centre,” she said.
Representatives of telecoms companies including Globacom, MTN, Airtel and 9mobile, who attended the programme also answered series of questions from the consumers on the phone-in programme.
TCTHR is a consumer outreach programme of the NCC previously held in semi-urban areas but now modified to be radio-based, in order to reach every telecom consumer and as part of the Commission’s response to the efforts of the Federal Government to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first episode of the programme, aimed at empowering consumers through information sharing, education and protection initiatives, was held in Kano in August 2021 on NCC Digital Signature.