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Telecoms to Reject Flagged NIN for SIM Replacement

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CEM REPORT | The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has stated that communication service providers shall not conduct SIM replacement for flagged Bank Verification Number (BVN) generated NIN.

NCC stated this in a new comprehensive document titled, ‘Business Rules and Operational Processes for Implementation of the SIM Replacement Guidelines 2022’

NCC stated that the use of NIN is mandatory for all SIM replacement adding that to ensure the accuracy of verifications/validations quality assurance measures will be built.


Guardian reports that the commission stressed that where BVN generated NIN is flagged by NIMC, communication service providers should not conduct SIM replacement for Individual and corporate (IoT/M2M) subscribers. Communication service provider but rather advise the subscriber to return to NIMC office for regularisation.

Also, where communications service providers are unable to successfully verify the subscriber’s NIN records due to unavailability service, communications service providers are to refer to Appendix 2 of the Business Rules for SIM Registration.

Furthermore, communications service providers are to capture live facial images of the subscriber during SIM replacements for effective verification adding that where subscribers’ fingerprint or facial image or passport photograph (Corporate subscriber) matches NIMC and SIM registration records, other forms of validations shall not be required.

The commission further noted that communications service providers should obtain consent and update subscriber SIM Registration records with NIMC data, following verification of biometrics. For this purpose, SIM replacement Forms shall be updated with the consent form provision.

The document further said, where primary telecoms master’s NIN data and communications service provider’s SIM registration records match, and secondary telecoms master’s NIN is successfully verified, other forms of verification shall not be required.

The NCC further noted that where primary telecoms master’s NIN data and communications service provider’s SIM registration KYC records do not match (or where primary telecoms master’s SIM registration database is not available), SIM registration data can be updated with NIN details upon facial verification of primary telecom master’s passport photograph and consent form from the corporate subscriber.

For SIM replacement/upgrades on secondary lines, secondary telecoms master’s NIN shall be validated as part of corporate subscriber’s SIM-NIN harmonisation before SIM replacement is carried out.

NCC said SIM replacement/upgrade for primary telecom master may not require secondary NIN validation, adding that any peculiar request different from any corporate entity, which is at variance to the general rules on corporate and IoT/M2M SIM activation and replacement shall be treated on a case by case basis after such corporate entity procures a waiver from NCC and upon written directives from the commission to the concerned communications service provider.

Moreso, NCC said lawful foreigners residing in Nigeria for year or more and wish to perform SIM replacement,  shall require a NIN for SIM replacement as they fall under the category of registrable persons, while foreigners validly transiting through Nigeria or are employed in or reside in Nigeria for less than 24 months are excluded from the mandatory use of NIN requirement.

Furthermore, persons in this category need to justify that they will be residing in Nigeria for less than two years. NIN is mandatory for foreigners with legal residency status or those living in Nigeria for two years and above.

Regarding those without NIN, NCC said communications service providers shall capture the resident’s details for NIN issuance as part of the NIN enrolment process, upon presentation of residents’ permits. It added that foreigners with Visitor’s visas (with visas less than two years) do not require a NIN.

The telecoms regulator said a check must be carried out by the communications service providers for all new activations and Port-in requests to ensure that the limit on the number of activations per subscriber as specified by the commission from time to time is strictly adhered to.

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