NIN: Crowd Floods Banks NIMC, Telcos Outlets

Bank customers who have not linked their National Identity Number (NIN) with their bank accounts yesterday thronged to the banking halls to meet up with the February 29, 2024 deadline or have their accounts placed on Post No Debit.

Also, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and telecommunications companies were flooded by Nigerians who have yet to link their NINs to their SIMs on Wednesday and yesterday.

Recall that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had, last December, handed a directive to telecommunications operators; Globacom, MTN, Airtel, and 9Mobile to ban SIMs not linked to owners’ NINs on their networks by February 28.

In the same vein, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had last December, issued a circular to all commercial, merchant, non-interest, and payment service banks as well as other financial institutions and mobile money operators to place post no debit on accounts and wallets that do not have BVN and/or NIN.

Some customers lamented the ordeal that they were being subjected to, claiming that they had undergone the process earlier and were being forced to do it again.

Whilst some banks told customers who opened accounts with their NIN or registered for BVN with their NIN not to bother, some other banks insisted that customers come in and link their NIN to their bank accounts.

Some customers who were interviewed lamented that, with technological advancement, the linkage could have been done through their banking apps ‘but in Nigeria, we like making everything difficult for ourselves and that is why I have been in the queue for hours,’ a customer of a tier-1 bank complained.

Another customer who said he could not endure the long queues in the banking halls said: “I have withdrawn money that I know I will need for this week. This is Nigeria and I am sure that the deadline will be shifted. So, I will wait.”

A visit to some banks showed that not all bank branched witnessed the heavy crowd.

The linkage of the NIN to SIM is a policy by the federal government through the NCC to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process and consolidate the achievement of the exercise.

The linking involves validating the NIN with the NIMC and matching the subscribers’ NIN records with the registration information to ensure proper subscriber identification.

Following this directive, telecom operators have commenced barring lines (not linked to NIN) from making calls, which led to the crowd seen at various NIMC centres and telco outlets.

For instance, a visit to the NIMC office in Ikeja, Lagos and telcos offices showed that many subscribers visited the service centres in droves to rectify the issues with their linkage or to link their NIN to their SIMs.

A businesswoman, Mrs Julie Okafor said that she could not make calls, since morning. “I know that 9mobile has been sending me messages to link my NIN to my SIM, but I ignored it, thinking it was a joke. I have been here at the NIMC office since morning to register my NIN. Hopefully, by next week, I will be able to finalise the process,” Mrs Okafor averred.

Meanwhile, the executive vice chairman/CEO Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Aminu Maida said NIN-SIM linkage is a process of connecting one’s NIN to his phone number to authenticate and protect his identity.

To link NIN to SIM, Maida urged telecom subscribers to submit his/her NIN to their respective Service Providers to complete the process of NIN-SIM linkage.

For subscribers who do not have the National Identification Number (NIN), they can obtain theirs from National Identification Management Commission (NIMC) Enrolment Centres or their Service Provider’s Customer Care Centres, he said, adding, “You need a valid ID Card and BVN for enrolment.

“A subscriber can also link his/her NIN to his/her SIM by sending NIN- your 11-digit NIN to 996 or Dial *996* Your 11-digit NIN# and follow the prompts. A telecoms subscriber can link his/her NIN to as many as 4 mobile phone numbers per Mobile Network.

“One major objective of linking subscribers’ NIN to SIM is to help improve and enhance national security in the country. As a matter of critical National security, telecom consumers must link their NIN to the SIM. To this end, the Commission has directed all telecommunication operators to bar phone lines of subscribers whose lines are not linked to their NINs on or before February 28, 2024.”


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