On Monday, April 19, the federal government announced that new SIM card issuance and registration would resume.

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Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, announced this in a statement released on Thursday by Femi Adeluyi, his technical aide (information technology).

The government halted all SIM-related operations in December 2020 when conducting an audit of the subscriber registration database.

Pantami stated that the country would introduce a revised national digital identity policy for SIM card registration, and that the national identification number (NIN) will be required at all levels.

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The statement read; “The policy includes guidelines on new SIM Acquisition and Activation, SIM Replacement, New SIM Activation for Corporates and Internet-of-Things/Machine-to-Machine (IoT/M2M), amongst others.

“The possession of a National Identity number will be a prerequisite for each of these categories.

“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.

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“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.

In the event that a data only service is particular to individual use (eg home car tracking, WiFi, MiFi services, etc), the standard NIN registration process will be followed. A telecoms Master will also be required for corporates requiring IoT/M2M activations.

“The full details of the requirements for each class of service will be made available in due course.”

Pantami further directed the Nigerian Comunications Commission (NCC) and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure that the provisions of the policy are strictly followed by all operators and subscribers.

“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.

“The implementation of the Policy will commence on Monday, 19th of April 2021. The issuance of New SIMs and other suspended activities will resume on the same date, as long as verification is done and the guidelines are fully adhered to,” it added.