By Kenny EMMANUEL
Telecommunications firms have been directed to fully bar phone lines without National Identity Numbers (NINs) and those whose NINs have not been verified.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) gave the directive to MTN Nigeria, Airtel, and others
To this effect, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc has announced that the company received a formal directive from the NCC to implement full network barring on all phone lines for which the subscribers have not submitted their national identity numbers (NINs) and those whose NINs are unverified.
According to the communication giant, this is part of an industry-wide directive that requires phone lines for which subscribers have not submitted their NINs to be barred on or before February 28, 2024.
“With regard to NINs that have been submitted but not verified, such lines are to be barred on or before March 29, 2024, where five or more lines are linked to an unverified NIN.
“Similarly, where less than five lines are linked to an unverified NIN, such lines are to be barred on or before April 15, 2024. All affected subscribers must be verified (biometrics and biodata) before their lines are unbarred,” the company said in a statement.
This is a follow-up to the NCC’s directive on April 4, 2022, requiring operators to restrict outgoing calls (one-way barring) for subscribers whose lines are not associated with NINs.
“We are further engaging the affected subscribers through all our channels to encourage them 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 (NIMC) to accelerate the NIN verification process,” it further stated.
MTN added that it appreciates the effort being made by the federal government to implement a reliable and sustainable national identity management system, which is a crucial enabler for national and economic development.
Therefore, as a law-abiding corporate citizen and in line with its operating licence requirements, the company said it is 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 financial year (FY) 2023 results.
“We urge all our subscribers who have not yet linked their NIN to their lines to take immediate action by visiting the nearest MTN outlet or using any of our digital channels before the deadlines.
“Those without a NIN should visit any of the NIMC’s enrollment centres nationwide to enrol for NIN,” the company advises.