The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) on Wednesday denied that it plans a “mass disconnection of telephone subscribers”.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Ikechukwu Adinde, the commission described the numerous publications in both print and electronic media regarding such disconnection as unfounded.
The statement read in part, “The attention of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been drawn to numerous publications in both print and electronic media regarding the unfounded fears of mass disconnection of telephone subscribers as a result of the ongoing linkage of SIM Registration Records with the National Identity Number (NIN).
“It is, therefore, necessary for the Commission to issue this clarification in order to allay the fears of subscribers and the general public.”
According to the statement, the minister of communication and digital economy, Isa Pantami, assured “the government will continue to review the exercise in the light of experiences to ensure its smooth implementation”.
“Most of these publications are based on the erroneous assumption that for every network or SIM connection, there is one unique human subscriber.
“However, with the advent of social media and App-driven digital environment, network subscription went beyond human subscribers to include machines like PoS, Routers, Wi-Fi devices, electricity meters, CCTV, tracking devices.
“A recent survey conducted in Nigeria has shown that on average, there are now approximately 4 to 5 SIMs to every human subscriber. This explains the basis of allowing the linkage of up to 7 SIMs to 1 unique NIN in the recently launched Federal Government Portal.
“Thus, if there are 43 million Nigerians with NINs, this could account for about 172 million SIMs already linked to NINs.
“It is very important to emphasize that the current exercise of linking NIN to SIM(s) is for the common good of all Nigerians, as it has far reaching benefits.
“Apart from enhancing our general safety, this will help in such vital exercises like National Budgeting, Policy Planning, Social Intervention programs, and many more.”
The federal government late last year directed mobile telecoms operators to disconnect all mobile lines which are not be linked to NINs, a directive that has caused confusion across the country as subscribers struggle to meet the deadline.