The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reported that a combined total of 98.8 million mobile users connected to telecom giants, including MTN, Glo, Airtel, and 9mobile, have become inactive as of July 2022. 

The number of inactive mobile lines has increased from 94 million (April 2022) to 98.8 million (July 2022), representing a 4 million rise since the directive of the federal government for all mobile users to link their National Identification Number (NIN) with SIMs. 

In case you missed it 
The federal government in December 2020 directed all Nigerians to register for NIN and link the unique numbers to their SIM cards. The federal government also made registration centers available to assist Nigerians who don’t have the unique pin.

After several pleas for Nigeria to yield to the directive, the federal government authorized telecom operators in the country to bar unlinked lines from placing outgoing calls. The directive by the federal government affected over 75 million mobile users in Nigeria.

Why this is happening 
An advocacy organization in Nigeria, Inclusion for all Initiatives, identified vulnerable groups in the country, especially the poor, as the most impacted sect which the government’s directive of compulsory linking of NINs with SIM affects the most. 

  • The organization claims the vulnerable groups had challenges which hindered them from completing the NIN-SIM linkage exercise. These challenges include lost source documents (such as birth certificates, legal means of age validation and personal data), poor access to enrollment centers and much more. 

Other reasons for inactive users include ease of acquiring and dumping SIM cards, inability of mobile subscribers to retrieve their lines since the ban, etc. 

What you should know 
A mobile line is regarded as inactive when a subscriber does not engage data services on that mobile line or makes and receive calls for at least 90 days. 

The number of active lines across the major telecom providers at the end of July stood at 208.6 million.

It is important to note that even before the ban on unlinked NIN- SIM cards, there has always been a record of inactive lines. 

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