MTN Nigeria said it has enrolled 37.2 million National Identification Numbers (NINs) for its subscribers in the ongoing exercise of linking the number with the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card.
The federal government had as at February 1, 2021, put the total figure of NINs received by all mobile network operators, at 56.18 million, up from the initial 47.8 million NINs received as of January 18.
With the 37.2 million NINs received by MTN alone, the telecoms company has assured the federal government of its commitment to speed up the NIN-SIM linkage exercise, as mandated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator.
MTN said it had since commenced the process of bulk verification of all NINs received from its subscribers, with a view to linking all SIM cards on its network with the verified NINs.
The former CEO of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Ferdi Moolman, gave the assurance recently, while presenting the company’s financial report for the year ended December 31, 2020, which was his last official assignment at MTN Nigeria.
He has since handed over to the current CEO, Mr. Karl Toriola.
According to him, “To date, over 37.2 million subscribers have submitted their NINs, representing 48.7 per cent of our subscriber base. We are working with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to complete bulk verification of the NINs collected. This requires improved integration with the NIMC database, the development of which has reached an advanced stage.”
Moolman explained that in order to support the federal government’s effort to ensure that every Nigerian has a valid NIN, MTN Nigeria was granted a NIN enrolment licence and have commenced enrolment in 36 centres across the country.
“We are also working with NIMC and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to expand our enrolment centres and provide an access point for as many Nigerians as possible. To this end, we have acquired over 15,000 enrolment devices, which are being configured for this purpose, and placed orders for additional ones,” Moolman said.
On December 9, 2020, the NCC suspended the sale and activation of new SIMs, and on December 15, 2020, it directed all operators to update SIM registration records with valid NINs with an initial deadline of December 30, 2020. While suspension of new subscriber acquisition continues, the deadline for NIN update has been extended to April 6, 2021 to accommodate logistical challenges.
Moolman, however, said MTN had entered into collaboration with the NCC and NIMC to ensure that all MTN subscriber records were updated, adding that telecoms company has made significant progress in this regard.
In view of the NCC directive on SIM registration, Moolman said the immediate priority of MTN would be to protect the MTN base by collaborating with NIMC to drive NIN enrolment and ensure that MTN customers’ records were updated with NIN.