A while back, the federal government, through Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ordered telecommunication companies in Nigeria to suspend the sale, registration and activation of new Subscriber Identity Module (SIM Cards.

According to This Day, the FG has now lifted the ban on the sale, registration and activation of new SIM Cards after the National Digital Identity Policy for SIM card registration was reviewed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami and industry stakeholders on Thursday.

Directing the (NCC) and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to guarantee the strict following of provisions of the National Digital Identity Policy for SIM card registration by all operators and subscribers, Pantami stated that the process has been developed in the best interest of the country.

Femi Adeluyi, Technical Assistant to the Minister, stated that the policy had been approved for implementation by President Muhammadu Buhari in March after an earlier policy was approved in February. The final amendments to the revised policy which were completed on April 14 will make compulsory use of the (NIN) for all SIM registration. The policy also incorporates guidelines on new SIM acquisition, activation and replacement.

Read the statement:

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.

For IoT/M2M activations, SIM security protocols would be implemented on the SIM profile to ensure that SIMs can only be used for point-to-point data services specific to the URL they are working with. All other services will be barred

Nonetheless, the federal government is committed to supporting all Nigerians and legal residents to obtain a NIN. The biometric verification process has been slower than anticipated, owing largely to the non-adherence of many previous SIM biometric capture processes to the NIMC standards.

The revised policy will ensure that operators conform to the required standards for biometric capture. The guidelines in the policy have been painstakingly developed and while they are thorough, it should be noted that they have been developed that way in national interest since the SIM is essentially a national resource. Citizens and legal residents are encouraged to bear with the government as the process has been developed in the best interest of the country.