Following the expiration of the ultimatum given by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, we heard that over 70 million SIM cards have been barred from making outgoing calls.
For more than a year, Nigerians were directed by the government to link their SIM cards to their National Identity Number (NIN).
NIN is an 11-digit number that is done by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), an agency of the Ministry of Communication.
While some people treated the directive of the government as a joke, thousands of others who abide by the order have also been caught by the government clampdown.
Why your SIM cards were blocked
In some of our articles, there are guides on how to link your NIN to MTN, GLO, Airtel, and 9mobile. But if you’ve done this and your SIM was still barred, below are the reasons your SIM was barred by the FG.
Computers are not 100% perfect, they can only process the instructions or information input into them. During the linking process when thousands of Nigerians besieged telecons registration centres, officials may have made an error in your information.
Truly, you may think that you’ve done all you needed to do, but because of the error in your data, your registration will be considered invalid and will be treated as ‘no registration’.
Integration Error from NIMC
At a time SIM-NIN linking process, the server of NIMC came down because of some factors, including low bandwidth and poor maintenance among others.
If you were able to find a way around it when the NIMC’s issues were rectified, the NIMC might encounter a similar error at the point of hitting the submission button. This could be as a result of poor backend integration from the data management government agency.
If you didn’t complete your registration as a result of frustration from your network carrier or due to a poor network, then your SIM may be barred from making outgoing calls.
Wrong NIN-MTN Linking
If the data on your SIM is completely different from your NIN data, this may be responsible for your inability to optimally use your SIM.
We’ve heard cases whereby MTN, GLO, Airtel and 9mobile offered apologies to some of their subscribers whose SIM cards were wrongfully blocked even when their SIM cards were successfully linked.
Remedy: If you found yourself in this situation, file a complaint with your network provider immediately to unbar your SIM.
Multiple SIM Cards Linking To NIN
You can link multiple SIM cards to one NI, fine. But the maximum of SIM cards you can link to your NIN is seven. We have a guide on how to link 7 SIM cards to NIN, you can check it out.
In case you’ve linked more than seven SIM, the rest will be treated as ‘no registration’ and will be blocked.
How To Unblock SIM Card
Only those whose SIM cards were blocked can describe their losses, especially for those who use their SIM for businesses. Some of them did the needful but were still blocked.
If you are one of the victims of this, here are the steps to take to unbar your SIM card from making or receiving calls.
- Visit the service centre of your network provider
- Request for a complaint form
- Get a letter to take to NIMC office
- Update your data and your line will be unblocked
In a situation whereby the error came from your network provider, the unlocking will be done right before you leave their premises.
Litigation for Wrongful SIM Blocking
If your SIM card was wrongfully barred, you can sue your network provider for contributing to the loss of revenue for your business.
Only sue your network provider or Nigeria’s government if you have the budget for litigation and if you can be patient to wait for several years to get justice.
That said, you can see the list of accredited NIN registration agents outside Nigeria for Nigerians in diaspora.