NIN/SIM Linkage Has Curtailed Criminal Activities In Nigeria, Says Minister

TECH DIGEST – The policy that has made it mandatory for phone subscribers to link their National Identification Number (NIN) to their subscriber identification module (SIM) has helped to curtail alarming cases of crimes particularly banditry and kidnapping, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has disclosed.

Pantami, while addressing the media at a briefing organised by the All Progressive Congress Professional Forum, in Abuja this week, said the NIN/SIM linkage policy enforced since December 2020 has eliminated unchecked and an almost unlimited capacity of criminal elements to perpetrate their activities.

According to the minister, “when I was assigned to supervise the sector on 24, August 2019, unregistered, and partial registered SIMs were being used to perpetrate crime in the country. Nobody knew the total number of unregistered SIMs.

He sad within only 15 days in office, he directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to carry audit exercise to enable them come up with unregistered and partial registered SIMs.

“They [NCC] came with around 9.4 million which is enough to populate another country. It was the first time. We didn’t know the total of unregistered SIMs in the country.

“By September 2021, no unregistered SIM will be on our network”
“We went further to direct NCC to ensure that by 25th September 2019, that is only one month few days in office, to ensure that by end of September 2021, no SIM that is not registered will be on our network. NCC as a regulator implemented that effectively.”

While supporting the claims of the minister, Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, added that the policy has eliminated the criminal practice by some telecommunication agents to offload illegally pre-registered SIMs onto the networks.

“That has been eliminated” said the telecoms regulator even as he explained that bandits and kidnappers now resort to use the SIMs of their victims to demand ransom.