…Approves Activation of New SIM Registration
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has led the development of a revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM card registration in collaboration with all other stakeholders.
As a result, the Minister has finally approved the activation of new SIM registration in the country starting from Monday, 19th of April 2021.
Directing Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure the provisions of the policy are strictly followed by all operators and subscribers, Pantami stated that the implementation of the Policy and issuance of New SIMs and other suspended activities will resume on the same date, as long as verification is done and the guidelines are fully adhered to.
A statement signed by the Technical Assistant (Information Technology) to the Minister, Dr Femi Adeluyi revealed that an earlier policy was approved on the 4th of February 2020, while the revised policy was developed in early March 2021.
According to him, the policy was further improved and endorsed for implementation by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, 26th of March, 2021.
Pantami stated that the final amendments to the revised Policy based on the directives of the President to make the use of NIN mandatory for all SIM registration were completed yesterday, 14th of April, 2021.
The Policy includes Guidelines on New SIM Acquisition and Activation, SIM Replacement, New SIM Activation for Corporates and Internet-of-Things/Machine-to-Machine (IoT/M2M), amongst others.
The possession of a National Identity number will be a prerequisite for each of these categories.
For the Corporate registration, institutions will be required to appoint a Telecoms Master (at the minimum of an Executive Management level) to provide the operational Primary NIN representation. The Telecoms Master will also be responsible to ensuring that the users provide their NINs to serve as a Secondary NIN.
For IoT/M2M activations, SIM security protocols would be implemented on the SIM profile to ensure that SIMs can only be used for point to point data services specific to the URL they are working with. All other services will be barred.
Pantami also noted that, in the event that a data only service is particular to individual use (eg home car tracking, WiFi, MiFi services, etc), the standard NIN registration process will be followed. A Telecoms Master will also be required for Corporates requiring IoT/M2M activations. The full details of the requirements for each class of service will be made available in due course.
Speaking further, he said significant progress has been made in the NIN registration process across the country.
“Nonetheless, the Federal Government is committed to supporting all Nigerians and legal residents to obtain a NIN. The biometric verification process has been slower than anticipated, owing largely to the non-adherence of many previous SIM biometric capture processes to the NIMC standards.
“The Revised Policy will ensure that operators conform to the required standards for biometric capture”, he noted.
According to him, the Revised Policy will ensure that operators conform to the required standards for biometric capture.
“The Guidelines in the Policy have been painstakingly developed and while they are thorough, it should be noted that they have been developed that way in National interest since the SIM is essentially a national resource. Citizens and legal residents are encouraged to bear with the government as the process has been developed in the best interest of the country.
The key aspects of the draft Policy were presented to the stakeholders at the 4th Review Meeting of the Ministerial Task Force (MTF) on the NIN-SIM registration which held on Friday, 26th of February, 2021. Key stakeholders and members of the MTF who joined the Minister at the meeting included the EVC/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), DG/CEO of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), DG/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON). Others included the NCC Executive Commissioners for Technical Services and Stakeholder Management, MD/CEOs of MTN, Airtel, EMTS (9Mobile), NTEL, Spectranet and SMILE, as well as the COO of Glo.
While reiterating government’s commitment to continually taking decisions aimed at easing the pains of the citizens with regard to issues related to NIN and SIM registration, Pantami thanked Nigerians for their patience and compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on the NIN-SIM registration exercise.