The Federal Government has lifted its suspension on Subscriber Identification Module(SIM) card replacement for telecommunications subscribers.
Also, the Government has ordered that National Identity Number(NIN) be made compulsory for telecoms service users who need to replace their damaged, stolen or misplaced SIMs to re-establish access to telecom services.
A statement signed by the Director Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Ikechukwu Adinde and the Head Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr Kayode Adegoke on Friday.
This implies that telecoms subscribers can now approach their Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for SIM card replacement across Nigeria.
However, the statement did not lift the ban on new SIM card registration.
The statement reads,”The Federal Government drive to ensure all Subscriber registrations are linked with National Identification Numbers (NINs) is moving forward and all stakeholders in the industry are working together to ensure the process is carried out as seamlessly as possible. The Government would like to seize this opportunity to sincerely appreciate Nigerians for the understanding and commitment demonstrated towards ensuring the overall success of this exercise.
“The Ministerial Task Force under the Chairmanship of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy set up a Technical Committee made up of representatives of: Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); National Identity Management Commission (NIMC); The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON); and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).
“The Technical Committee is charged with the operationalization of the process to ensure an expedited linkage of all SIM Registration Records with NIN. Based on recommendations of the Technical Committee, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has approved a SIM Replacement Policy for subscribers whose SIMs have been lost, stolen, misplaced or damaged subject to the following conditions: That the subscriber present a NIN; That an effective verification of the NIN is carried out by NIMC; and That the relevant Guidelines and Regulations of NCC concerning SIM Replacement are fully adhered to”, it contained.
This policy is part of the Federal Government’s efforts to reduce the burden on subscribers and simplify the exercise. It is aimed at enabling telecommunications service users who need to replace their damaged, stolen or misplaced SIMs to re-establish access to telecom services.
The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy on December 9, had directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, to implement the suspension order of the sales of new SIMs as well as the suspension order on activation of old SIMs.
Recall that the suspension order was expected to last till the completion of the audit of the Subscriber Registration Database, which seeks to achieve global standards and quality in the issuance of SIM card.
The Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, who announced the suspension order in a statement issued by the commission in December, had said the action became necessary in line with the federal government’s desire to consolidate the achievement of the SIM card registration in September 2019.