The Federal Government has approved the establishment of dedicated Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) Swap Centres across the 744 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
This decision was reached on Wednesday at the 4th review meeting of the Ministerial Task Force on the National Identification Number (NIN)-SIM registration in Abuja, presided over by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami.
Pantami tasked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which was working with NIMC and mobile network operators (MNOs), to urgently come up with a framework for the establishment of the Centres in the 774 LGAs of the country.
The Minister said that the framework for the establishment must begin with critical and feasible locations.
The statement was jointly signed by Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Mr Kayode Adegoke, Head, Corporate Communications, Nigeria Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
The meeting also approved the extension of tenure for National Identity Number (NIN) registration by MNOs.
The statement added that the government also extended the enrolment licence tenure of NIN Enrolment Agent Licensees for MNOs from 1 to 5 years in consideration of their satisfactory performance, subject to continuous monitoring.
“The Technical Committee was mandated to complete the development of a new SIM issuance strategy that cannot be compromised.
“This will ensure that there is no repeat of the past process that was compromised through pre-registration by some agents,’’ it said.
According to him, approval has been given to MNOs for the establishment of dedicated SIM Swap Centres across the Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria;
“A Multi-Sectoral Ad hoc committee was tasked to immediately complete the review of the processes for new SIM activations for legal residents staying in Nigeria for less than 24 months.
“The membership of the Committee was drawn from NCC, NIMC, Nigeria Immigration Service and the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).”
He said MNOs that had Service Centres in important locations in LGAs were expected to upgrade these centres to a level where they could qualify as SIM Swap Centres in order to reduce the challenges associated with the SIM swap process for citizens.
Adinde explained that the purpose was to bring SIM Swap Centres closer to Nigerians regardless of their location.
The Minister expressed appreciation to Nigerians for their patience and compliance with the government’s directive on the exercise.
He informed that President Muhammadu Buhari was briefed on the activities of the Ministerial Task Force.
He said that President Buhari commended the achievement recorded so far and urged the Minister and other stakeholders to maintain the tempo.
The Minister also appreciated Nigerians for their patience and compliance with the government’s directive on the NIN-SIM registration exercise, which had many benefits to the country and its citizens.
He pledged government’s commitment to continually take decisions aimed at easing the pains of the citizens with regard to issues related to NIN and SIM registration.
The Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, briefed the meeting on the outcome of the Senate Investigative Hearing on 5G Deployment in Nigeria.
Danbatta extolled the minister for making an eloquent presentation to dispel fears about the public health and security implications of 5G, as well as making a case for this new technology in the country.
“All stakeholders agreed on the need for the country to deploy 5G technology,” he said.
They included the EVC/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); DG/CEO, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC); and DG/CEO, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
The membership of the Committee was drawn from NCC, NIMC, Nigeria Immigration Service and the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
Others members were the NCC Executive Commissioners for Technical Services and Stakeholder Management; MDs/CEOs of MTN, Airtel, EMTS (9Mobile), NTEL, Spectranet and SMILE, as well as the COO of Glo.