NCC Present Revised National Identity Policy For SIM Card Registration

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The management and board of Nigerian Telecommunication (NCC) says Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) has become a necessary component for citizens to access various services provided through telecommunications systems, and it has been determined that linking the SIM to the National Identity Number (NIN) database will significantly enhance the safety and security of Nigerians. According to the published document titled Revised National Identity Policy For SIM Card Registration cited on the commission website further noted that It is in line with this commitment that the Federal Government has developed the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration and initiated the process that will require every SIM to be linked to the NIN.

“The National Identity Number (NIN) is the foundational digital ID for the country; both Nigerian citizens and legal residents are expected to obtain the NIN. The Federal Government has taken steps to ensure that the NIN is used as the primary digital identity across the various sectors of the economy. The NIN is a robust biometrics database that will enhance access to government services, support the private sector in providing customized services to citizens and support the enhancement of Nigeria’s national security and the development of the Nigerian digital economy.

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The Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) registration is a mandatory requirement for all mobile phone subscribers. Subscribers must register their SIM cards with their respective Mobile Network operators (MNOs) to have access to both voice and data network services. Considering the vulnerability and security risk posed by unidentified network users, Nigeria aligned with the global best practice by mandating the collection of identity information in a Capture and Validate (C&V) Mobile SIM registration and Know Your Customer (KYC) process. The exercise entails the capturing of the identity details of the individuals associated with SIM cards, verifying such captured data and linking the NIN to the SIM.The captured data from mobile network users normally requires a means of verification and validation, and in most countries, such verification and validation are done against a national identity database. In the absence of such validation, it is often difficult to know whether the information provided by individuals is authentic or falsified. However, the availability of a national identity document and an authentication mechanism are essential for such validation and verification. Such validation can be carried out at the point of sale or at point of activation.

Regardless of the point of validation, such verification and authentication helps in limiting identity fraud and other network-related crimes.

Unfortunately, Nigeria’s current SIM card registration process does not require a verifiable national identification. However, the growth of the Nigerian national identity database hosted and managed by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) presents a great opportunity for such verification and validation exercise at the point of SIM card registration. The current size of the NIMC database is only a fraction of the current size of the SIM registration database. A policy which requires each SIM registration to be mapped to NINs can significantly accelerate the growth of the NIMC database as the mobile phone network user database keeps growing. Mandating the use of NIN for SIM card registration has several benefits, including improving and enhancing national security, as well as accelerating economic planning and development. It will also boost the digital economy by promoting digital inclusion and accelerating the growth of the national identity databasethrough increased enrolment by the growing mobile phone network subscribers. REAGMORE

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