NIN: Subscribers lament as telcos commence blocking of outgoing calls on unlinked SIMs

Telecommunications companies have started barring outgoing calls of subscribers who have yet to link their national identification number (NIN) with their subscriber identification modules (SIM) cards.

On Monday, the federal government directed all telcos to restrict unlinked SIMs from making calls.

In a last-minute push for the linkage, the government, on Friday, directed Nigerians to ensure they complete the verification and linkage of their NINs to their SIMs within days.

Lamenting difficulties in making calls on Tuesday, a Twitter user and Glo subscriber, @Tee_Classiquem1, taunted the telco for quickly complying with the government’s directive.

“Glo is always slow in everything until it’s time to start blocking lines because of Nin-Sim linkage, they can’t even wait for 24hours after the announcement before barring people from making calls, so rich coming from a company who can’t provide a stable network for its customers,” the tweet reads.

“Let’s see who will be at loss at the end of the day, you block our lines, we are no longer buying airtime.”

Another user, @iamIkem, called out MTN for doing the same to his line.

“MTN has barred me from making calls due to NIN-SIM linkage. I no dey too do normal call before sef, when WhatsApp call dey?
So I’m not moved,” the user wrote.

TheCable also attempted to make a call with an unlinked MTN line but an automated voice said, “Your line has been barred from making calls. Please submit your NIN to get your line activated.”

Airtel, another telecom company, in a statement, said that all SIMs that have not been linked to a NIN will be placed on “receive only” status with immediate effect.

“Subscribers of such lines can still link their SIMs to their NINs in order that these restrictions can be lifted. Customers are therefore being given a final opportunity to fully comply with the latest registration requirements,” it added.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said its members would comply with the federal government’s directive.

Gbenga Adebayo and Gbolahan Awonuga, its chairman and head of operations, ATLON, signed the statement.

“We can confirm that our members have received a formal directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to bar outgoing calls on subscriber lines that are not in compliance with the NIN-SIM Linkage policy requirement,” the statement reads.

ALTON said the policy required that all SIMs must be linked with a NIN.
“Our members are committed to complying with the instructions and call on telecommunication subscribers who have not obtained or linked their NIN to their SIMs, to do so at any of the designated centres,” it adds.

ALTON said its members remained committed to supporting the federal government and upholding the rights of citizens to communicate.

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