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JUST IN: Why Already NIN-Linked Mobile Phone Lines Were Barred-NCC

JUST IN: Why Already NIN-Linked Mobile Phone Lines Were Barred-NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), on Monday, said it had barred mobile phone line which were previously linked to their National Identification Numbers (NINs) because they failed the verification test and were in active for long beyond the stipulated time.

The Director of Public Affairs of the NCC, Mr Reuben Muoka told ChannelsTV that some telecommunications subscribers who previously linked their SIM cards to their NINs also had their mobile lines barred because those lines have been inactive.

He said: “people who probably didn’t get a cleared or verified NIN” have been barred because “the earlier ones they submitted was not good”.

Muoka, who was guest on Channels Television’s The Morning Brief programme, said some SIM cards have verification and identification issues like disparity in information such names and other data.

“There are still some subscribers whose NINs are yet to be verified by NIMC and those have to also be corrected,” he said.

Many subscribers have complained that they had previously linked their NIN with their SIM cards years ago but the NCC official said some lines were barred because the information on the NIN did not tally with what the customers register with their SIM cards.

He said subscribers will have to visit the outlets of their service providers to validate their NINs and resolve other matters.

“For now, it requires those physical visits to the stations to get it verified and validated but in the future, we hope that this will be done virtually,” the NCC spokesman said.

The NCC had last week issued a directive to telecom service providers to bar subscribers who have failed to link their phone numbers to their NIN on or before February 28, 2024.

As of December 2023, Nigeria has over 224 million, according to data by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). MTN boast of over 87 million subscribers, representing 38.79% of the total market share, the highest in the country by any licensed Mobile Network Operator (MNO). Globacom and Airtel have 61 million subscribers each while 9mobile has 13.9 million users.

Millions of lines were barred last week at the expiration of the deadline but the regulator’s spokesman said the NCC has been going through one deadline after the other since 2022 “to give extension for convenience but it is time to get to a closure”.

“Take it that everybody who has not submitted his NIN to the service providers have been barred. Actually, the service providers starting barring people many days to the deadline,” he said.

Muoka, however, said it will be difficult to tell the actually number of phone lines that have been barred but the NCC will do an audit before the end of the week as data are expected from service providers.

He said the NIN-SIM linkage has an objective which is to make Nigerians have digital identity to tackle security matters.

“The whole essence is actually to achieve the convenience that digital services and products will offer. By the time you have your identity together, you will be able to attend to a number of things. Even the banks are now asking their customers to link their NINs to their Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs). It is actually to make a holistic package of all your digital services,” he stated.

Excerpts from the Interview:

Question: If the NIN-SIM is working, why is the process not utilized to curb kidnappings and such crimes.

Mr. Muoka: NCC is not a security agency but a regulatory agency for telecoms in Nigeria. However, the NIN-SIM linkage when finalized will aid in the investigative process.

The police attend to the issue of information provision for tracking victims. But if the identity of the victim is not properly registered, then tracking will be difficult. Please note that there have been successful outcomes in utilizing the NIN-SIM linkage despite the fact that the process is still ongoing.

Question: Downtime across networks and efforts by NCC to improve Quality of Service.

Mr. Muoka: There is no operator that likes disruptions because they are not making money. Sometimes, things like major fibre cuts during construction or other such issues are beyond what the service providers can handle.

The EVC Dr. Maida has constantly emphasized that Quality of Experience and the consumer is one of his strategic focal points. So the NCC is working closely with service providers to uphold this strategy.

Question: Delays in the process. Why does government innovation bring hardship?

Mr. Muoka: This is not different from what is witnessed in many parts of the world. There are several dimensions to such challenges and the level of digital development in Nigeria should be appreciated and will continue to improve.

Question: Can the linkage be done digitally without physical visit.

Mr. Muoka: We cannot do that right now because of discrepancies on NIN or other identity issues.

Of course, this will be possible in the future but at this nascent moment of the process, it is needful that all these issues are cleared up. Subsequently, it can be done digitally.

ChannelsTV News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many subscribers have complained that they had previously linked their NIN with their SIM cards years ago but the NCC official said some lines were barred because the information on the NIN did not tally with what the customers register with their SIM cards.

 

He said subscribers will have to visit the outlets of their service providers to validate their NINs and resolve other matters.

 

 

 

 

 

“For now, it requires those physical visits to the stations to get it verified and validated but in the future, we hope that this will be done virtually,” the NCC spokesman said.

 

The NCC had last week issued a directive to telecom service providers to bar subscribers who have failed to link their phone numbers to their NIN on or before February 28, 2024.

 

As of December 2023, Nigeria has over 224 million, according to data by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). MTN boast of over 87 million subscribers, representing 38.79% of the total market share, the highest in the country by any licensed Mobile Network Operator (MNO). Globacom and Airtel have 61 million subscribers each while 9mobile has 13.9 million users.

 

Millions of lines were barred last week at the expiration of the deadline but the regulator’s spokesman said the NCC has been going through one deadline after the other since 2022 “to give extension for convenience but it is time to get to a closure”.

 

 

 

“Take it that everybody who has not submitted his NIN to the service providers have been barred. Actually, the service providers starting barring people many days to the deadline,” he said.

 

Muoka, however, said it will be difficult to tell the actually number of phone lines that have been barred but the NCC will do an audit before the end of the week as data are expected from service providers.

 

He said the NIN-SIM linkage has an objective which is to make Nigerians have digital identity to tackle security matters.

 

“The whole essence is actually to achieve the convenience that digital services and products will offer. By the time you have your identity together, you will be able to attend to a number of things. Even the banks are now asking their customers to link their NINs to their Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs). It is actually to make a holistic package of all your digital services,” he stated.

 

 

OPay to Block All Non-NIN Complaint Account by March 1st

All accounts on OPay, Nigeria’s fintech company that are not properly linked with the National Identification Number (NIN) would be blocked by March 1, 2024.

Jennifer ofodike

Also, fraudulent accounts and those that do not meet the know-Your-Customer (KYC) of the Centra Bank of Nigeria would also be removed from the OPay platform.

 

The Director of Partnerships at OPay, Mr Ikponmwosa Odiase, who broke the news during an interactive session with the media in Lagos, South West Nigeria, further revealed that its tier 1 account owners have been barred from performing transactions on its mobile app until they update it with their NIN.

 

Recall, that the CBN in a December 2023 circular stated that all bank accounts without Bank Verification Number (BVN) and National Identification Number (NIN) will be placed on “Post no Debit” effective April 2024.

 

According to Odiase, the ongoing updates by existing customers, has now made NIN a mandatory requirement for all accounts opening, stressing that as a result everyone who has a tier one account must link with NIN before their transaction can be valid.

 

He warned that fraudulent account will be yanked off the OPay platform saying that every OPay account details must correspond with what they have in their NIN registration.

 

Odiase explained that the decision on the yanking of the non-NIN complaint account was a collaborative decision of everyone relevant players in the financial sector adding that new customers are going to start with NIN, and that information about account holders NIN be their will wallet.

 

He told journalist at the media parley, which was the first of the year by the award winning fintech that the new KYC system will help Nigeria tackle all fraud related issues in the financial sector.

 

Odiase promised that OPay would be deploying a system where there would be a backend a verification of customer’s facial with BVNs and NINs to enable OPay tackle the poor facial verification on the application.

 

The Director Card Business, Pricillia Olayemi in her report while revealing the OPay  2024 plan disclosed that OPay Verve now holds 33.60 percent shares of the Verve card market noting that the fintech is introducing virtual customer services.

 

She stated that OPay looks toward creating one million jobs stressing that the company is rejigging its corporate social responsibility programme for the year targeting education at the all levels.

According to the Head of Marketing and Communication, Adekunle Adeyemi said that the media parley was designed to get the media close and better understand the OPay brand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We all know that fraud has been quite prevalent. The fraudsters are not sleeping and the industry is now rising to the challenge,” he said.

Impact on financial inclusion

The OPay Director, however, observed that the exercise may affect the ongoing drive to deepen financial inclusion in the country as many people who currently have wallets would lose it if they are unable to link it with NIN.

 

“This might drag us back a little in financial inclusion because as a mobile money operation, part of our mandates is to drive financial inclusion. That is why ab initio, there was no need for NIN or BVN for the tier one account, believing that those in the rural areas would not have access to some of those things. But we believe things have changed, so many people have NIN and BVN now. Having BVN means you are financially included, but with NIN, you might not be financially included,” he said.

 

ChannelsTV News

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