The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has proposed a fine of N200,000 for telecommunications companies that fail to verify and validate biometric, National Identity Number (NIN) and other personal information of subscribers.
This is contained in a proposed draft regulation on registration of telephone subscribers 2021 published on NCC’s website.
The federal government had asked Nigerians to enrol for NIN and link their unique number to the phone lines.
Since the announcement in 2020, an extension of the deadline for NIN registration and subscriber identity module (SIM) integration exercise has taken place at least six times.
January 19, 2021 was the initial deadline, but it was moved to February 9, April 6, May 6, June 30, July 26 and now October 31.
Section 19 of the draft document, NCC said mobile communications services providers must ensure that NINs are verified and validated before activation.
It said a penalty of N200,000 awaits those who breach the requirement.
A similar penalty has been proposed for telcos that fail to register subscribers with the central database as well as those who activate subscriptions without appropriate registration of such subscribers.
“Any licensee who fails to capture, or who preregisters, register, deregister or transmit the details of any individual or corporate subscribers to the Central Database as specified in these Regulations or as may be stipulated from time to time by the Commission is liable to a penalty of N200,000.00 for each subscription medium,” the draft reads.
“A licensee who activates any Subscription Medium without capturing, registering and transmitting the personal information to the Central Database commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine of N200,000.00 for each unregistered activated Subscription Medium.
“A Licensee who fails to verify and validate biometric, NIN and other personal information before activation is liable to a penalty of N200, 000 for each subscription medium in breach of these requirements.”
In October 2015, NCC slammed fines on all mobile phone operatorsslammed fines on all mobile phone operators over the non-compliance with SIM deactivation directive.
The regulator had said it fined Globacom N7.4 million, Etisalat (now 9mobile) N7 million, Airtel N3.8 million, and MTN N102.2 million.
MTN later got a fine of N1.04 trillion for not deactivating 5.1 million unregistered lines.
The fine was eventually reduced to N330 billion with a condition that MTN will list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) — a condition that has now been met by the telco.
MTN first paid N275 billion and completed the balance of N55 billion in May 2019.