The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has warned Nigerians whose subscriber identity module (SIM) cards were barred from making calls to beware of a viral website offering to unblock their lines.
The agency issued the disclaimer in a statement signed by Ikechukwu Adinde, its public affairs director. Last week, the federal government directed telecommunication companies to bar outgoing calls on all unlinked lines.
Unlinked lines are SIM cards not yet linked with NIN.
So far, around 72 million unlinked SIM cards have been affected by the NIN-SIM linkage policy.
According to the statement, the commission said that affected SIMs will not be unbarred by the service providers until they are linked with the national identification numbers (NINs) of the SIM holders.
The NCC said the warning became necessary in view of the viral weblink (https:///NCC-Sim-Unbar-Gov-Ng) being circulated on social media and some websites.
It added that the link and accompanying narrative represent patent misinformation and disinformation designed to mislead the general public about the SIM cards that are barred from making calls, due to non-linkage with NIN at the set deadline.
The “misleading, viral” website also displays the NCC logo and promises members of the public that by clicking the web link and following further instructions in that regard, subscribers with barred SIM cards can unbar such SIMs across mobile networks without a valid NIN.
The commission urged members of the public to disregard the website.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the NCC wishes to state categorically that it never issued such statement, directing subscribers or indicating that subscribers can unbar their SIM without a NIN,” the NCC said.
“As such, the originators and peddlers of the spurious message were out to mischievously mislead unsuspecting members of the public and should, therefore, be disregarded in its entirety.
“The NCC is the national regulatory authority for telecommunications in Nigeria, and it is co-driving the process of the NIN-SIM linkage with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) as directed by the Federal Government.
“The Commission will not, under any circumstance, act contrary to Federal Government’s directive to MNOs to bar SIMs cards not linked to NINs at the expiration of the last deadline given for the NIN-SIM linkage exercise.”