Nigeria’s federal government has barred all outgoing calls on every SIM card not linked to the National Identification Number (NIN) of the SIM card owner.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami, who gave the order Monday to bar outgoing calls on every unliked Subscriber Identification Module (SIM card), also ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, to direct all telecoms operators to begin deactivation of all unlinked SIM cards with immediate effect, insisting that all telecoms subscribers must comply with the NIN-SIM linkage Policy of the federal government.

The federal government, however, commended Nigerians for the compliance level in registering and linking their SIM to their NIN, saying that 125 million SIMs have had their NINs submitted for immediate linkage, verification and authentication and that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has issued over 78 million unique NINs till date.

In a statement issued by the federal government and jointly signed by the Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde and the Head, Corporate Communications at NIMC, Mr Kayode Adegoke, Pantami commended Nigerians and legal residents for their support during the exercise to link the National Identification Number (NIN) to the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM).

“As of date, over 125 Million SIMs have had their NINs submitted for immediate linkage, verification and authentication. Similarly, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has issued over 78 million unique NINs to date,” Pantami said.

The statement added: “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the implementation of the Policy with effect from the 4th of April, 2022. Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all Telcos to strictly enforce the Policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria. Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage Policy from the 4th of April, 2022. Subscribers of such lines are advised to link their SIMs to their NINs before the Telcos can lift the restriction on their lines. Affected individuals are hereby advised to register for their NINs at designated centers and link the NINs to their SIMs through the channels provided by NIMC and the Telcos, including the NIMC mobile App.

”Pantami thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his tremendous support. He also commended the Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Dambatta, the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of NIMC, Aliyu Abubakar Aziz, and their management and staff, as well as other notable bodies whose efforts have seen to the monumental success of the exercise.

The Minister also extended his thanks to the telecommunication operators for their support towards the success recorded. Pantami said enrollment for NIN would be a continuous exercise. NIN would henceforth be a precondition for service in Telcos, Banks, Nigerian Immigration Services, and several other government services. He also encouraged Nigerians and legal residents to visit NIN registration centres for the enrollment and issuance of valid NINs.