Following the directives given to all network operators in the country by the Federal government to disconnect every SIM card not synchronized with valid National Identity Number (NIN) by December 30th, there was panic as most Nigerians were charged N20 while confirming their NIN status using the USSD code (*346#)
The directive to disconnect SIM cards without valid NIN came after an urgent meeting of key stakeholders in the Communications industry convened by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) on Monday, December 14, 2020.
The meeting in its resolution insisted that all telecom operators must from Thursday, December 16, 2020 require all their subscribers to provide valid National Identification Number (NIN) to update SIM registration records.
The Minister explained that the order was in line with Federal government’s desire to consolidate the achievement of September 2019 SIM card registration.
Below are how some Twitter users reacted:
@MrOdanz “The NCC announcement has put people in a panic to check if they have the NIN by dialing *346# on their phones.
“It costs N20 each time you use *346# to check your NIN.There are at least 100 million cellphones with SIMs in Nigeria. Do the maths. 20 × 100 million.Soft work. Yahoo+”
@Daddy_Nomso “The Same Govt that said #EndSARS was spreading Covid 19 wants N100M people to get NIN to Register Sims in 2weeks. We have not gotten our Nation ID 5 years after registration & when you try to get your NIN thru USSD from NIMC dey charge you N20 while you get nothing in return Man facepalmingPouting face”
@AishaYesufu “It is my hard earned N20 so I pressed cancelled. I go borrow SIM card use.”
@_JoyMicah “I have never ever joined the queue to register for anything NIN but today after taking my N20 they displayed a supposed NIN for me. Lol, so it’s either the system is flawed or this is Yahoo plus plus with our N20.”
@fkabudu “Oho. I knew there had to be money somewhere. Multiply N20 by the number of people that will try to do this because of this nonsense rule and voila”
@Bigonyeka1 “N20 from over 80m Nigerians na better cash out ooo chai”
@derra_o “I wanted to check if my SIM was NIN enabled, and there’s a charge of N20? Haq haq haq, I no do, dears. Block am.”