In December 2020, the Nigerian government issued a directive that all SIM cards be linked with the users’ National Identification Number (NIN) or risk getting blocked. The NIN is a one-to-one unique number assigned to each Nigerian citizen for easy identification, among other purposes.  

According to the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Ali Pantami, this exercise is aimed at combating the high rates of insecurity in the country. After postponing the deadline 9 times, the federal government,  on Monday, April 4, 2022, directed telcos to begin blocking all SIMs that are yet to be linked to their NINs. CommsUpdate reports that about 73 million SIMs have so far been blocked from making calls or receiving calls. 

If you’re yet to link your SIM with your NIN, or have a blocked SIM due to this, follow the steps below to remedy that.

How to link your SIM with NIN to unblock your line:

Step 1: Retrieve your NIN

To link your National Identification Number (NIN)  to your sim, you need to know what your NIN is.  If you do not know your NIN, you can retrieve it by visiting any NIMC office near you. Or you can retrieve it by yourself on your phone by dialling *346#.

USSD code to get your NIN
Image Source: TechCabal

Step 2: Link your NIN to your SIM

If you have your NIN, you can link it to your mobile number(s) in either of 2 ways— using the NIMC Mobile ID App or the assigned USSD code of your mobile network.

How to link your NIN to your mobile numbers using the NIMC Mobile ID App.

To link your NIN to your mobile number using the NIMC mobile app, you need to first download it. Enter your NIN and log in. Then follow these steps:

  • Tap on the “My Devices” button on the bottom right part of your dashboard on the app. 
  • Tap on “Add Mobile Number” and input the mobile phone number you wish to link. 
  • Input the OTP sent to that mobile phone number.

You can link up to seven (7) mobile phone numbers.

Image Source: TechCabal

If you are using a feature phone, you can link your number to your NIN using the USSD code of your network.  

How to link your NIN to your mobile numbers using USSD code.

The USSD codes for respective network providers are as follows:

  • For Airtel, dial *121*1#
  • For MTN, dial  *785#
  • For Glo, SMS “UPDATENIN  YourNIN FirstName LastName” to 109. For example, “UPDATENIN 12345678910  Samuel Bright”
  • For 9Mobile, dial *200*8#

There have been several claims by some people that their SIMs were blocked even though they are linked to their NINs. This could be for several reasons such as incomplete NIN registration, computer error during integration by NIMC, mismatch of data on NIN registration and data of  SIM card registration. If you ruled all these out, it is possible that you linked more than 7 SIM cards to 1 NIN. The maximum is 7; any other line after the seventh will not be registered and therefore blocked.

Image Source: Twitter

If your SIM card is blocked from making or receiving calls despite linking your NIN, visit the service centre of your network provider to make a complaint.

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