NIN-SIM linkage: Queues continue at enrolment centres, telecom offices

Huge crowd continued to throng enrolment centres across the country yesterday by those affected by the partial subscriber identity module (SIM) deactivation of the Federal Government.

The Federal Government had on Monday ordered telecom companies to bar outgoing calls by subscribers that have yet to link their SIM with their National Identity Numbers (NIN).

No fewer than 72.2million lines may have been affected by the partial restrictions on the ability of such subscribers to originate calls from their lines.

Many of the affected subscribers, in desperation, are ready to part with cash to get their lines back.

One telecom subscriber who identified himself as Tony, said his inability to originate calls from his mobile phone has affected his business terribly. A dealer in building materials in Cement Bus Stop along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway said he was supposed to do follow-up with his clients and even place orders for new stocks.

When our correspondent visited MTN Nigeria office along Fatai Atere Way, Mushin, Lagos, there was a long queue of partially deactivated customers that came for the National Identity Number (NIN) enrolment. A sheet of paper containing names of customers to be attended to sighted on the table of the security men showed that no fewer than 370 customers have visited the office.

A security official explained that many people came to the office for various purposes. “Some people came to buy and register new SIMs. Others came because their lines were blocked from making calls. If you are here to enroll for NIN, you need to bring a means of identification which could either be your international passport, drivers licence or Biometric Identification Number (BVN). You don’t need to bring money because enrolment for NIN here is free,” he explained.

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) also shared the list of the nearest enrolment centres with prospective enrollees.

In a terse post at a WhatsApp group, NIMC spokesman wrote: “Please be informed that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has over fifteen thousand (15,000) NIN enrolment centers across the 36 states and the FCT.

“There are over 150 centers in 40 countries in the Diaspora. Kindly, click on the link to check the NIN enrolment center closer to you.”

The Federal Government had in a statement by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Director of Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde and Adegoke, said the enforcement was a part of steps to improve security.

However, there is an open window for those yet to link their lines SIMs with NIN to do so at designated NIMC centres nationwide.

Adinde and Adegoke explained that of 125 million SIMs had been submitted for linkage with NIN while 78 million had so far been issued unique NINs. Unique NIN is simply the attachment of subscribers’ name to their SIMs.

They recalled that the government had in the past two years shifted the timeline of the enforcement of the policy to ensure that subscribers were captured in the National Data Base (NDB) of NIMC.

<<The Nation>>