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Nigerian govt relaxes directive on SIM cards, but…

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Communications Minister Pantami warns NCC over SIM card registration

The Federal Government has lifted the suspension placed on the replacement of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards, after agitations by Nigerians.

The lifting however did not affect the suspension placed on the sales and activation of new SIM cards.

The decision to lift the suspension order was reportedly taken at a stakeholders’ meeting convened by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Issa Pantami on Wednesday night.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had banned the sales and reactivation of SIM cards with a directive that subscribers should link their National Identification Number (NIN) with their SIM cards.

According to reports, the minister was silent on the suspension order on the sales and activation of new SIM cards bought by subscribers who lost their SIMs under different circumstances.

According to the new directive, only those with valid NINs would be allowed to retrieve and activate old SIM cards, while those who want to buy and activate new SIM cards, may still have to wait for another directive from government.

Conveying the decision in a statement on Wednesday night, the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said: “Further to engagements with government on the matter, we are pleased to report that our members have been granted permission to carry out SIM replacement upon verification of the customer’s NIN. In this regard, our members are working with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure seamless system connectivity for verification of NINs.”

Read also: Reps ask Nigerian govt to extend NIN/SIM card deadline to January

The statement, which was signed by ALTON Chairman, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, and its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Damian Udeh, said further: “We note the challenges experienced by customers seeking to replace or upgrade their SIM cards following the suspension of sale and activation of SIM cards by the government, which also affected SIM replacement.

“We empathise with people who have been unable to reactivate their phone lines as a result of the suspension. We, therefore, seek the continued patience and understanding of our esteemed subscribers as we work with all stakeholders towards speedily resolution of issues affecting SIM registration/swap and activation.

“We assure you of restoring normal services in a seamless and effective manner as soon as possible.”

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