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Block SIMs without NIN, NCC directs MTN, Airtel, others

The Nigerian Communications Commission has directed MTN Nigeria, Airtel and other telecommunications firms to fully bar phone lines without National Identity Numbers and those whose NINs have not been verified.

This was disclosed in a corporate notice that MTN Nigeria filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited revealing the directive from NCC and the attached deadlines for the barring.

In the statement signed by its Company Secretary, Uto Ukpanah, MTN Nigeria said, “This is part of an industry-wide directive that requires phone lines for which the subscribers have not submitted their NINs to be barred on or before 28 February 2024. With regard to NINs that have been submitted but not verified, such lines are to be barred on or before 29 March 2024, where five or more lines are linked to an unverified NIN.

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“Similarly, where less than five lines are linked to an unverified NIN, such lines are to be barred on or before 15 April 2024. All affected subscribers must be verified (biometrics and biodata) before their lines are unbarred.”

The current directive is a follow-up to the NCC’s directive of April 2022 requiring operators to restrict outgoing calls (one-way barring) for subscribers whose lines are not associated with NINs.

MTN encouraged affected subscribers to submit their NINs for verification.

“As part of these efforts, we are enhancing the capacity of our various service outlets to make the process smoother and more efficient. We are committed to ensuring that our subscribers comply with the NCC directive and will continue to work with the National Identity Management Commission to accelerate the NIN verification process,” MTN added.

The company also expressed a willingness to work with the Federal Government in ensuring compliance with the industry-wide directive from NCC.

“As a law-abiding corporate citizen and in line with our operating licence requirements, we are committed to complying with the industry-wide directive from the NCC and will provide further updates to investors on progress and potential impact with the release of FY 2023 results,” the firm said.

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