Telecom Operators Raise Alarm Over the Challenges with NIMC

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Telecom operators have raised alarm over the challenge they have with the backend integration of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). Nigerians were given February 9, 2021, as the deadline for the enrolment, verification, and linking of the National Identification Numbers (NIN) to subscribers Identification Module (SIM). Since given the deadline, the offices of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) nationwide have been experiencing daily a large crowd of Nigerians wishing to get their NIN.

Nigerian subscribers who have linked their NIN to their SIMs through their network operators are yet to receive status information. In response, a technical official of the MTN revealed to newsmen that it is due to the challenges of slow backend integration the telecom operators are having with NIMC facilities.

“We are having challenges with the backend integration with the NIMC database because of the old backend support at the Commission. Some subscribers have sent their NINs to their network providers, and you will be told that it has been acknowledged, but it will not go through finally until we are able to check at the backend of NIMC to confirm the authenticity of the subscriber’s identity because we don’t have any way of knowing, except NIMC confirms.

“It is NIMC that is supposed to confirm that and get back to us. So many subscribers have sent their NINs, but the Commission is yet to confirm their authenticity. It is a serious challenge, which they are managing. It is also one of the reasons we cannot give the number of subscribers that we have verified.”

The Chairman of the Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, who also confirmed the challenge said, “yes, we confirmed some challenges with integration at NIMC but that is part of what is being addressed as part of the challenge of the entire ecosystem. We expect that the issues will be resolved and it won’t result in any delays. The operators would work closely with NIMC, and the problem would be solved as more operators switch to a live environment in NIMC integration.

ALTON is also providing a regular update for the regulator and this we expect will provide some advisory guidance towards the decision being made on the deadline. It’s still a lot of work but it is not impossible. We can only continue to appeal to subscribers for their patience and understanding.”

However, with the pace of the NN-SIM project, Nigerians are expecting the FG to extend the deadline for a successful project that will make all Nigerians having NIN link it with their SIMs.

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