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Conditional return of SIM card sales in Nigeria

Nigeria , 16 Apr 2021

The Nigerian government has lifted the ban it placed on the sale and registration of SIM cards in the country.

In a statement, Nigeria’s Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy said individuals that are interested in buying new SIM cards can now do so, however on condition new cards link with the National Identification Number (NIN).

This is in line with the country’s revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration.

“An earlier policy was approved on the 4th of February 2020, while the Revised Policy was developed in early March 2021. The final amendments to the revised Policy based on the directives of Mr President to make the use of NIN mandatory for all SIM registration were completed yesterday, 14th of April, 2021,” reads an excerpt from a statement released by the Ministry.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, added that the implementation of the new policy will commence on 19 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,” he stated.

The Minister directed the telecoms regulator to work with the country’s National Identification Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure that the provisions of the Policy are strictly followed by all operators and subscribers.

“There has also been a remarkable increase in the number of enrolment centres across the country with about 3,800 centres available for enrolments. There are also many more new centres in the pipeline,” according to the NIMC.

Tech experts lamented the impact of the suspension of sale of new SIM cards on their operations.

Local tech entrepreneur Editi Effiong posted a tweet expressing his frustration with the policy. “We brought in a group of expats in December. Till today, none of them has a Nigerian phone number, because you can’t buy SIM cards.”

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