Two weeks ago, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced that the ban that prevented Telecommunication companies from selling SIM cards has been lifted. This automatically meant that Nigerians could walk into any Telecommunication centre and purchase a SIM card as long as they have their NIN. This should be the case, but the reality is many people are still unable to buy SIM cards even after the Government lifted the ban preventing them from being sold.
The decision to lift the ban was reached few months after the plan was placed in December, but the process of acquiring a SIM card in Nigeria will never be the same. The Minister of Digital Economy and Communications along with major stakeholders revealed that the National Identity Number (NIN) is compulsory for acquiring and activating new SIMs for individuals, corporate bodies and for replacement of lost or stolen SIM cards.
According to the Government, Telecommunication companies could begin selling SIM cards from the 19th of April, 2021. But many people that have visited centres across the country have complained of not being able to get a SIM card. Nigerians have taken to Twitter to pour out their anger and frustrations concerning the SIM registration saga. Searching any of the SIM-related hashtag on Twitter will show you some of the opinions people have on the issue.
SIM registration has actually begun but not in all parts of the country, according to our investigation. For SIM registration to resume, centres have to be certified by the NCC. Kano, Kastina, Lagos, Nassarawa and Abuja are some of the states with certified centres. As more centres get certified by the NCC, more people will be able to get SIM cards.
The good news is that all these are temporary and SIM registration activities will soon be back to normal and you’ll be able to walk in with your NIN to get a SIM. The bad news is no one known when SIM registration will fully resume in the country, not even customer care representatives could give us a date.