Nigeria’s federal government ordered telecommunication companies to bar calls from phone numbers not yet linked to a National Identity Number (“NIN”), as well as unregistered SIM cards to be disconnected. Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa – a region Bill Gates’ GAVI targeted in 2020 to introduce a “biometric identity platform.”
On 4 April, Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, gave the order to deactivate all unlinked SIM cards with immediate effect, insisting that all telecoms subscribers must comply with the NIN-SIM linkage policy of the federal government. The recent order to bar all unlinked SIM cards came 16 months after the federal government gave the first order to deactivate all SIM cards not registered and linked to NIN.
Pantami said enrolment for NIN would be a continuous exercise and that NIN would henceforth be a precondition for service in telcos, banks, Nigerian Immigration Service, and several other government services.
The federal government commended Nigerians for the “compliance” level in registering and linking the SIMs to NINs, saying 125 million SIMs have been submitted for linkage to NINs.
“As of date, over 125 million SIMs have had their NINs submitted for immediate linkage, verification and authentication. Similarly, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has issued over 78 million unique NINs to date,” the statement said.
Nigeria has an estimated population of 215,9 million. Data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (“NCC”) showed that the number of cellphone or mobile phone subscribers was around 198 million as of February 2022 which means 73 million SIMs had not been submitted for linkage.
However, the average number of SIMs linked to one NIN is about three to four, Parrot Nigeria wrote. Thus, Parrot Nigeria estimates, there are 47 million unlinked users and calculated the loss of earnings on that basis:
“Using the industry average revenue per user of N1,420, as stated by ATCON, an estimated N66.74 billion would be lost if the 47 million SIM cards yet to be linked are barred.