As the deadline for telephone subscribers with National Identity Numbers to register their SIM cards with the identity numbers elapsed on Tuesday, mobile operators have said that SIMs with unlinked but submitted NINs would not be blocked.
The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, spoke on behalf of the telecommunications companies including Airtel, MTN, Globacom, and 9Mobile.
He said, “If you already have your NIN and you have delivered the number to your service provider and it has been acknowledged and forwarded to NIMC, I don’t think the penalty will be there for you as from tomorrow (Tuesday) if your SIM has not been registered with the NIN.
“This is because as far as you are concerned as a subscriber, you have uploaded that number to your operator and forwarded to NIMC.
“Now the further interrogation of that means that you are not supposed to be penalised because you have done what you are required to do to your service provider and to NIMC.”
Adebayo said the penalty would be mainly for those who do not have the NIN and who were unable to deliver their NINs to their service providers.“So those in the problem category are those who do not have the NIN and who have not delivered the NIN to their service providers by Tuesday.
Therefore if you as a subscriber have submitted your NIN to your service provider and this has been forwarded to NIMC, at this stage I am not aware of any penalty for you,” he said.
The Federal Government through the Nigerian Communication Commission had ordered telecommunications companies to deactivate telephone lines of subscribers who failed to link their phones to their National Identity Number.
Subscribers with NIN have until January 19 as deadline to link their NIN with their SIM cards while subscribers without NIN have until February 9 to do so.
Also, when contacted on whether there would be an extension of the January 19 deadline, the media aide to the communications minister, Uwa Suleiman, replied, “I am not aware of any.”
She, however, stated that if there was any of such information, the communications ministry or any of its relevant agencies would make it public