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ALTON takes stand on FG’s NIN for SIM card demand



FG lifts ban on SIM card replacement

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has reacted to the directive by the federal government that National Identity Numbers be synchronized with SIM card registration in Nigeria.

In a statement signed Wednesday by Gbenga Adebayo, the national chairman of the association, ALTON promised to work with the government and other stakeholders to achieve a robust identity system that will further contribute to the country’s digital economy drive.

The statement reads: “As an industry, we recognise the importance of a strong national identity system and the critical contribution it will make to the accelerated growth of our digital economy.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made the role of digital communications, products and services even more important in our daily lives and it is a national challenge to ensure that the building blocks are in place to enable them to be provided safely and securely, to all.

“We are committed to working closely with all stakeholders to overcome this challenge and deliver an inclusive, value-adding digital economy Nigeria can be proud of.

“We fully understand the vital role that we, as digital operators, have to play in this process and we are collectively committed to investing in the systems, processes and support structure that are required to enable it.

“In line with that, we wish to communicate our intention to fully comply with the two directives issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in the past week, and to work closely with them to overcome this challenge, together.

“We understand that this process will be inconvenient for subscribers, and we are committed to ensuring we provide the information and support that you will need to manage this transition.”

The association further said that its focus is on minimising the disruption that it will cause and as the delivery mechanisms are developed, we will provide further information.

“We continue to seek for your cooperation and understanding and we work with Government in ensuring a reliable National Identity Ecosystem,” Adebayo said.

The federal government on Tuesday had directed that SIM cards used by Nigerians to access telecoms services be updated with the NIN of their holders, as part of the its ongoing efforts to curb insecurity in the country by exposing the identity of perpetrators.

While Isa Pantami, the minister of communications and digital economy, gave a two-week ultimatum (starting from Wednesday, December 16, 2020) to Nigerians to carry out the exercise or have their phone numbers blocked, Nigeria’s legislature has called for extension of the deadline by eight months.

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