Nigerians Express Dissatisfaction as Telecommunications Companies block Phone lines despite linking NIN

Some telecom subscribers expressed frustration on Wednesday as their phone lines were blocked by telecommunications companies, despite having linked their National Identification Number (NIN) with their SIM cards.

The subscribers voiced their grievances in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had directed telecom operators, including MTN, Airtel, and Globacom, to implement full network barring on all lines without submitted NINs and those without verified NINs by February 28, 2024.

The NCC specified that NINs submitted but not verified, as well as cases where five or more lines are linked to an unverified NIN, would face barring on or before March 29, 2024. For less than five lines linked to an unverified NIN, barring was to occur on or before April 15, 2024.

During a visit by NAN to telecom customer service centers in Lagos, subscribers complained about blocked lines, with more issues reported at MTN outlets. Some subscribers claimed to have already linked their NINs as instructed by the NCC, and were surprised that their lines were still barred even before the February 28 deadline.

Various individuals, such as businessman Marcel Okoh, fashion designer Aisha Alao, and retired teacher Veronica Maduabunechukwu, expressed dissatisfaction with the disconnections, stating that they had completed the NIN-SIM linkage.

Despite receiving disconnection notices, subscribers like Chinenye Agbanusi and Kanyinsola Oje argued that they had followed due process. However, agents at Airtel and Globacom outlets reported that subscribers had been complaining about disconnections since December 2023.

Responding to subscriber complaints, Funsho Aina, Senior Manager of External Relations at MTN, explained that many lines were barred due to missing data. Aina suggested that discrepancies in the data filed for NIN and SIM registration might cause the disconnections. To rectify such issues and reconnect, Aina advised subscribers to create a Virtual NIN (VNIN) through the MTN portal or by dialing a specific code on their mobile phones.

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