The Government yesterday lifted the restriction on new Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card registration, giving Nigerians who want to get new lines a relief. In any case, this time around, only those who have registered and obtained their National Identity Number (NIN), will be able to do so as the order for telecom operators to begin registering new numbers makes ownership of NIN mandatory.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, who gave the order said the endorsement was in accordance National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration. A statement by the Minister’s Technical Assistant on Information Technology, Dr. Femi Adeluyi said the implementation of the Policy will commence on Monday, 19th of April 2021. Adeluyi explained that the issuance of new SIMs and other suspended activities will resume on the same date, as long as verification is done and the guidelines are fully adhered to. According to him, the Minister also directed NCC and NIMC to ensure that the provisions of the Policy are strictly followed by all operators and subscribers. Part of the statement read: “The Minister had coordinated and led the development of the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration in collaboration with all other stakeholders.
“A prior Approach was affirmed on the 4th of February 2020, while the Revised Policy was developed in early March 2021.“The final amendments to the revised Policy based on the directives of Mr President to make the use of NIN mandatory for all SIM registration were completed yesterday, 14th of April, 2021. “Prior to that, the key aspects of the draft Policy were presented to the stakeholders at the 4th Review Meeting of the Ministerial Task Force (MTF) on the NIN-SIM registration which held on Friday, 26th of February, 2021,” the said. The Policy includes Guidelines on New SIM Acquisition and Activation, SIM Replacement, New SIM Activation for Corporates and Internet-of-Things/Machine-to-Machine (IoT/M2M), amongst others. The possession of a National Identity number will be a prerequisite for each of these categories. For the Corporate registration, he said institutions will be required to appoint a Telecoms Master at the minimum of an Executive Management level to provide the operational Primary NIN representation. “The Telecoms Master will also be responsible for ensuring that the users provide their NINs to serve as a Secondary NIN. “For IoT/M2M activations, SIM security protocols would be implemented on the SIM profile to ensure that SIMs can only be used for point to point data services specific to the URL they are working with. All other services will be barred.