The Federal Government has fixed April 19 for the commencement of issuance and registration of new SIM cards, four months after the activity was suspended, stressing that the National Identity Number will be mandatory for the exercise.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, signed by the Technical Assistant on Information Technology to the Minister, Dr Femi Adeluyi, the directive was given by President Muhammadu Buhari, after the final amendment of a revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration on Thursday.
“The implementation of the Policy will commence on Monday, 19th of April 2021. The 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.
“The Honourable Minister has also directed NCC and NIMC to ensure that the provisions of the policy are strictly followed by all operators and subscribers.”
It explained that 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 ministry added that the possession of a National Identity number will be a prerequisite for each of these categories.
“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.
“Dr Pantami also presented the Revised Policy to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on Friday, 26th of March, 2021. Mr President made further improvements and endorsed it for implementation. Mr President also commended the Honourable Minister for his commitment in carrying out the responsibility of developing the digital economy sector, including championing the NIN-SIM registration process,” the statement stressed.
The statement gave further explanation on the guidelines in the policy.
It revealed that corporate institutions will be required to appoint a Telecoms Master at 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. 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.”
It stated that significant progress has been made in the NIN registration process across the country, but 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.
“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.”