By Oluseyi Ajadi

Starting this week, over 12 million telecom subscribers face disconnection as network operators enforce the February 28, 2024 deadline for linking Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards to National Identification Numbers (NINs). The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has ruled out any possibility of extending the deadline.

RELATED: CBN restates plans to freeze bank accounts without BVN, NIN from March 2024

Similarly, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reiterated its directive to enforce a March 1, 2024 deadline for accounts without both the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and the National Identity Number (NIN). These accounts will be restricted from transactions, labeled with a ‘Post No Debit’ status, preventing customers from making withdrawals.

Last year, the financial regulator mandated that all newly opened bank accounts must be linked to BVN and NIN, while existing accounts must be updated accordingly.


“We already issued a public notice in this regard and all the information. If there was an extension, NCC would have communicated that. But as far as I know, there is no extension,” said NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Mouka, Wednesday at the ongoing 45th Kaduna International Trade Fair in Kaduna City.

Mouka, who represented the NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Dr. Aminu Maida, added:  “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.”

Meanwhile, a law court has ruled to restrain telecommunications companies from implementing the NCC’s directive on the NIN-SIM linkage pending the determination of an appeal filed by a lawyer against the NCC’s directive.


For millions of customers, the restrain order could mean confusion and no respite over whether operators will stay action.

“I thought the purpose of these regulations was to streamline processes and enhance security, but all they’ve done so far is create confusion and inconvenience for ordinary citizens. It’s disappointing to see how poorly this whole situation has been managed,” complained one telecom customer who desired to be identified as Loveth.

Shafbeyioku, a user on Social Media Platform X and a bank customer, shared expressed anger over the process.  “Mine was already linked since last year, but I still got the notice twice each by email & SMS. For confirmation, I went to the bank yesterday (long queue), and after checking my account info, it was confirmed that my account was already in order.”


Faced with increasing security challenges and desire to have a more transparent banking industry, the Nigerian government is insisting telecom and bank users must have verifiable identities or risk losing their bank accounts and phone lines.

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