Nigeria's National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration, approved and first published in 2020 mandates the compulsory registration of all SIM cards to access voice and data networks services.
In a media statement released by the Nigerian National Communications Commission (NCC), the federal government extended the registration deadline to 31 October 2021.
The National Identity Policy places citizen’s national identity number (NIN) as the primary digital I.D to identify all Nigerian citizens and legal residents. The state plans to aggressively intensify the development of it's digital economy. Cabinet captured these ambitions through the approval of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.
Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) has become a necessary tool that enables governments to track and trace internet traffic. In line with efforts to accelerate registration and meet deadlines, the NCC has increased enrollment systems capacity from 800 in December 2020, to now 5410 systems spread throughout the country, specifically in rural remote areas.
In a preliminary report, the NCC has counted 57.3 million unique NIN registrations, with an average of 3 to 4 SIM’s per NIN.
Nigeria has previously undertaken this exercise, through the Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulations, published in 2011. Under similar circumstances, operators were required to register SIM cards with NIN. October 20, 2015, MTN Nigeria was fined N1,04 Trillion by the NCC over failure to comply with an order to disconnect 5,2 million unregistered SIM cards. Through concessions, the record penalty fee was negotiated down to N330 Billion ($5.2 Billion).
With a sharp global increase of cyber attacks and information breaches, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami remarked:
“ It will also help Nigerian security agencies to improve their effectiveness in dealing with cybercrime, particularly in the area of digital forensics, crime tracking, and identification. This Policy lays a foundation using the NIN to support the development and security of the mobile ecosystem of Nigeria ”
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