For as much as N5,000, you can get a ready-to-use SIM card and be linked to a National Identity Number(NIN) that is not your own.
Abuses like this, committed by SIM vendors is going on in some parts of Nigeria as the Nigerian government barred unlinked SIMs from making calls.
Some Nigerians have come out to recount their experiences with the booming, but illegal deals SIM vendors are making with other people’s NINs.
One Nigerian who witnessed the racket narrated how it is being done in a post on the popular Nigerian Nairaland Forum on Friday.
The Nigerian, who goes by the moniker ‘DispatcherLagos’ went to buy a new SIM at Ado Road, Ajah after losing his phone on Thursday.
“While the registration was ongoing, I noticed the agent/vendor was selling already registered SIMs to customers without NIN.
“I became curious to know how possible it is considering all the protocols involved in registering new SIMS.
“So I asked him how much he sells the already registered SIMS and he told me N5000 and I was still wondering how possible it can be.
“So to confirm whether or not it’s true I paid for a SIM (N5k) and he started with the “processing”.
“First of all, there is this guy that came in to complain that his number was blocked even though he has NIN and had linked it with his SIM.
“The vendor through the help of the device they run their business with confirmed that there is a variation in the name used in registering the SIM and the one in the NIN. So he was told to wait (till he is done doing my work).
“So after I paid for the already registered SIM, I was surprised that the agent now called the man and started taking his passport. I picked offence by this attitude and confronted the agent for abandoning me for another customer even though I came before him.
“At this point, he cornered me and told me to chill and that he was still on my work but only wanted to use the guy’s NIN to link the already registered SIM I paid for.
“I was mad. So this is the extent people can go in a bid to make money? Imagine if I actually needed that SIM and maybe I use it to perpetrate some crimes(God forbid) who do you think will be held responsible for it?.
Another Nigerian, that goes by the name EverBlazing, on the Nairaland Forum said his dad got the shock of his life when he bought a new MTN SIM a few days back.
“Registration was done successfully. He Then inserted his SIM to start using.
“To his surprise MTN sent him welcome message listing three different numbers linked to his NIN account.
“Out of curiosity he went back to them to know why. Long story short, they had used his details to register two other SIM Cards.
“Dad got passed and threatened them. After plenty dragging and calling their superiors he collected the other two SIMS.
“People are desperate. Let’s be very careful,”, he wrote.
In a major policy move, the Federal Government on 4 April ordered telecom companies to bar SIMs unlinked to National Identity Numbers(NIN) from making calls.
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered telecommunication companies in the country to bar all outgoing calls from unlinked NIN-SIM lines from today.
The directive was announced in a statement jointly issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
According to the statement, over 125 million lines have had their NINs submitted for linkage, verification, and authentication.
NIMC on its part has issued over 78 million unique NINs to date.
Buhari gave the directive for the implementation and commencement of the exercise in December 2020, as part of the administration’s security and social policies.
The deadline for the NIN-SIM linkage was extended on multiple occasions to allow Nigerians to freely comply with the policy.