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NCC to Telcos: Block consumers’ SIMs not linked to their NINs

*Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, reaffirms telecoms consumers, as a matter of critical national security, must link their SIM cards to their National Identification Numbers NINs to avoid blockade by their network service  providers 

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Describing it a matter of critical national security, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has restated its earlier directive to the country’s Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to block telecoms subscribers, who are yet to link their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards to their National Identification Numbers (NINs) on or before February 28, 2024.

ConsumerConnect reports Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive (EVC/CEO) noted this in his speech on the “NCC Special Day” at the ongoing 45th Kaduna International Trade Fair, holding in Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria.

Dr. Maida, represented on the occasion by Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs (DPA) at NCC, affirmed that as a matter of critical national security, telecoms consumers must link their SIM cards to NINs to avoid blockade by their MNOs.

The EVC/CEO of NCC restated that the February 28 deadline given to telecoms operators to bar subscribers who failed to link their NINs to SIMs still  stands.

“To this end, the Nigerian Communications Commission has directed all telecommunications operators to bar phone lines of subscribers whose lines are not linked to their NINs on or before February 28, 2024.

Earlier in his address, Maida had stated that the theme of this year’s event resonated with the principles and objectives of the Commission in promoting local content development in the telecoms industry.

He also said the telecoms sector regulatory Commission had remained committed to protecting consumers’ rights while ensuring their satisfaction.

According to him, the Commission has created a universally acceptable environment to access “affordable and equitable service and supports the nation’s economic growth.”

Maida further said: “As a regulator of the telecommunications sector in the country, the Commission carries out its functions to ensure service availability, affordability, and sustainability for all categories of consumers, who are leveraging on ICT/Telecoms to drive personal and business activities.”

Among other consumer-centric programmes and initiatives by the NCC, the Executive Vice-Chairman mentioned the Telecom Consumer Assistance, Resolution and Enquiries (TELCARE) Desk at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, in Abuja.

He recalled that the TELCARE Desk was set up to further provide an additional platform to make enquiries on customer issues, receive and facilitate the resolution of telecom consumer complaints.

“Working together, we can create a more vibrant telecommunications industry that contributes significantly to the economic recovery and growth,” stated he.

Also in respect of the industry contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Maida disclosed as of 2023, the telecoms industry’s contribution to the country’s GDP protection central to NCC’s mandate, says Maida was 13.5 percent, citing the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report November 2023, a publication of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The NCC Chief Executive averred: “As we promote economic growth through the development of local content, we must also address the challenges faced by consumers, and NCC is committed to protecting their rights while ensuring their satisfaction.”

The EVC/CEO of NCC, therefore, urged telecoms companies to prioritise consumer experience and satisfaction by upholding the highest standards of service delivery.

Maida stated the Commission has implemented measures to safeguard the interests of consumers and businesses alike in the Nigerian telecoms ecosystem.

According to him, one such measure was the NCC’s directive May 17, 2023, when all licensed MNOs commenced implementation of approved Harmonised Short Codes for providing services to Nigerian telecom consumers.

“The new initiative is enabling consumers using the over 224 million active mobile telephone lines in Nigeria to use the same codes to access services across all networks,” said Maida.

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