The Federal Government on Thursday said it had approved the activation of Subscriber Identification Module registration but this must be done with a valid National Identification Number.
It said the new SIM activation registration approval with mandatory NIN was in line with the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration.
It said the implementation of the policy would commence on April 19, 2021, and the issuance of new SIMs and other suspended activities would resume on the same date, as long as verification was done and the guidelines were fully adhered to.
The Technical Assistant, Information Technology, to the communications minister, Femi Adeluyi, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja.
He explained that the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, Section 23(a), specified the role of the minister to include the formulation, determination and monitoring of the general policy for the communications sector.
The statement said in line with this, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, coordinated and led the development of a Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration in collaboration with stakeholders.
The statement read in part, “An earlier policy was approved on the February 4, 2020, while the revised policy was developed in early March 2021.
“The final amendments to the revised policy based on the directives of Mr. President to make the use of NIN mandatory for all SIM registration were completed yesterday, April 14, 2021.”
It stated that prior to that, the key aspects of the draft lolicy were presented to stakeholders at the 4th Review Meeting of the Ministerial Task Force on the NIN-SIM registration which held on February 26, 2021.
It stated that key stakeholders and members of the MTF who joined the minister at the meeting were the heads of the Nigerian Communications Commission, National Identity Management Commission, National Information Technology Development Agency, telecommunications firms, among others.
The statement added that Pantami presented the revised policy to Nigeria’s President on March 26, 2021 before it was endorsed.
It stated, “The policy includes guidelines on new SIM acquisition and activation, SIM replacement, new SIM activation for corporates and internet-of-things/machine-to-machine, among 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.”
The statement further stated that significant progress had been made in the NIN registration process across the country.
It, however, stated that the biometric verification process had been slower than anticipated.
This, it said, was largely to the non-adherence of many previous SIM biometric capture processes to the NIMC standards.
It said the revised policy would ensure that operators conformed to the required standards for biometric capture.