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4.7 million get SIMs after FG’s call ban

Four million, seven hundred and sixty-nine thousand, six hundred and eighty-five million subscribers have gotten Subscriber Identity Modules since the Federal Government barred outgoing calls from SIMs that have not been linked to their National Identification Numbers.

This is according to new subscriber data from the Nigerian Communications Commission. When the Federal Government barred lines that were not linked to their NINs in early April to enforce its SIM-NIN policy, there were about 199.20 million subscribers connected to the national network.

At the time, the government revealed that about 125 million SIMs had submitted their NINs for linkage and over 78 million unique NINs had been issued. This left about 72.77 million subscribers on the receiving end of the directive.

A joint statement signed by the then Director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, and the Head, Corporate Communications at the Nigeria Identity Management Commission, Mr Kayode Adegoke, said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the implementation of the policy with effect from April 4, 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 April 4, 2022.”

In its recent industry statistics, the NCC revealed that the number of lines on the national network was 206.08 million in June.

Although new figures have not been released as regards the updated number of lines that are now linked to their SIMs, experts have said a couple of blocked subscribers have since gotten new SIMs because of issues around linking their lines.

Also, in its recent update, the NIMC revealed that there were 85.59 million unique NINs as of July 7, 2022, an increase of 7.59 million since the ban kicked in.

Commenting, the President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, said, “The reason for this growth is not far-fetched.

“We cannot make calls and people must do business, people must communicate with one another, and the only medicine business has communication. The reason for this growth is that people who should be making calls are barred and are getting new sims.

“Also, the network operators have capitalised on it and are giving new entrants, people who buy news sims, a lot of bonuses to enjoy them to communicate. The firms know people want to get new sims, so they are encouraging them. Yes, the barring is fuelling growth.”

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