A number of mobile subscribers in Nigeria are reporting that from a minute after midnight today, Tuesday 5th of April, 2022, they have been unable to make calls on their lines. Instead, when they dial out, they hear a voice prompt that says, “Dear Customer, You Are Not Allowed To Call This Number”.
I hazard a guess that this likely has to do with the recent announcement by the Federal Government that after yesterday’s deadline, mobile subscribers who are yet to link their phone numbers to their NIN (National Identification Number) will not be allowed to make calls until the linkage is done.
The NIN registration deadline has been moved several times to allow for more people to link their mobile numbers. If you are getting that response that you are not allowed to call, do check to see if your line has been successfully linked to your NIN.
As at yesterday afternoon, some subscribers with unlinked phone numbers were already reporting that they had been disconnected from data service. Below is a screenshot of a message sent to a subscriber today to notify them that their line has barred from initiating calls and SMS.
Consumer rights activist and executive director of Paradigm, Gbenga Sesan, is protesting the lack of a data protection framework for the NIN-SIM implementation by not linking his number.
Gbenga’s protest is a crucial one. There needs to be a guarantee of the safety of subscribers personal information. At the moment, the Federal Government has nothing in place to offer that protection, so there are no guarantees in whose hands the personal information that you submit ends up in.
As at last count, over 72 million subscribers have been barred from making calls and sending SMS with their lines.
What to do if you are not allowed to call out
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reiterated that subscribers who have not registered for their NIN need to do so at accredited centres across the country and then link the NIN with their SIM cards through channels provided by their service providers. Subscribers with registered NINs have to go link the NIN with their SIMs.
If you are getting the response that you are not allowed to call, it is likely that you need to link your number to your NIN. If you will like to link your number, you can get in touch with your network provider to do that at any of their outlets. Or you can download and login to the NIMC mobile app to do it yourself.
Using the app, you can link up to seven (7) phone numbers to your NIN.
You can also link it using one of the different channels that each network operator has orovided. Here is a guide on how to link your NIN to your phone numbers.
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