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How to link and unblock your NIN-barred SIM cards (MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9mobile)

In line with the federal government's directive, learn how to unblock your NIN-barred SIM card (MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9mobile) to avoid service disruption before February 28, 2024.

How to link and unblock your NIN-barred SIM cards (MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9mobile)
How to unblock barred MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9mobile

Every Nigerian citizen must possess a unique number called National Identification Number(NIN). Despite the World Bank's ID4D initiative aiming to increase NIN registrations to 148 million by June 2024, many Nigerians still have not gotten their NIN. 

Recently, users have reported their SIMs being barred from making outgoing calls even after linking their NIN, this is likely due to the Nigerian Communications Commission's (NCC) new measure which mandates telecom operators to block any SIM not registered with a NIN by February 28, 2024.

If you're among those affected, visiting your network provider's service center is advisable. However, if you haven't linked your NIN yet, stay tuned for steps on rectifying this situation.

What is NIN, and why is it important?

A National Identical Number (NIN) is an 11-digit non-intelligible number assigned to Nigerian citizens and legal residents at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) once enrolled in the National Identity database.

Your NIN matters in several ways: it facilitates secure identity verification across various sectors, connects personal records, and ensures smooth access to services like bank accounts, mobile numbers, and government benefits. It also strengthens fraud prevention and boosts government efficiency, streamlining interactions and reducing unnecessary hurdles.

Ultimately, the NIN empowers you with a secure and verified identity, unlocking easier access to essential services and opportunities.

Read also: The Impact of the Nigerian Communications Commission's policy

How to confirm if your NIN has been linked to your SIM cards

Step 1: Retrieve your NIN

To link your NIN to your sim, you need to know what your 11-digit identifier is. If you do not know your NIN, you can retrieve it by visiting any NIMC office near you. You can also retrieve it manually on your phone by dialing *346#. This is effective for all the major network providers in Nigeria - MTN, Glo, Airtel, and 9Mobile. 

Image Source: Bendada

You can also check using BVN

Interestingly, NIMC has made us understand that there are two types of NINs: NIMC-generated NIN and BVN-generated NINs. If you are among those who already have the NIN that your bank generated during the BVN registration exercise, here is what you need to do:

  • Visit a NIMC centre with your BVN
  • Request NIN validation form
  • Fill in your details and submit
  • Wait to be contacted via SMS or email.

The commission said recently that Subscriber Identification Modules would not be linked with National Identity Numbers generated through Bank Verification Numbers. It also called on the affected individuals with BVN-generated NINs to visit NIMC offices to validate their NINs, stating that BVN-generated NIN would not work on its newly inaugurated NIMC mobile app.

“You must complete your NIN registration even if your BVN has generated a NIN. If your NIN was generated due to the BVN record harmonisation with the National Identity Database, you will not have access to the NIMC mobile app and your NIN-SIM integration will be invalid. Kindly visit an enrollment centre to complete your NIN registration.” SIM

Now that you have your NIN number in place, how can you link or relink it with your SIM cards?

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

  • Download the NIMC Mobile ID App from your app store and install it on your smartphone.
  • Open the app, enter your NIN, and log in to access your dashboard.
  • On your dashboard, click the “My Devices” button located at the bottom right.
  • Select “Add Mobile Number” and type in the mobile phone number you want to link to your NIN.
  • Enter the One Time Password (OTP) sent to the mobile number you're linking.
Image Source: Bendada

Note: The NIN validation code above only works for SIM cards that have already been registered and previously linked with a NIN. You also have the option to print out your NIN slip if you have any need for it.

The USSD codes for respective network providers are as follows:

There have been several claims by individuals that their SIMs were barred despite being linked to their NINs. If you find yourself in any of these situations, do not panic. 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 the SIM card’s registration. 

If any of these issues apply to you, you may have exceeded the limit of 7 SIM cards per NIN. Only the first 7 lines will be linked to your NIN; the rest will be blocked and unregistered.

If you've followed the steps above to relink your SIM cards but haven't received confirmation within 48 hours, consider these options:

  • Reach Out to Your Network Provider: You can contact your service provider (MTN, Glo, Airtel, or 9Mobile) by calling, emailing, or visiting the customer care centre. They may be able to assist you with linking your NIN to your SIM cards, resolving any errors, or getting your services back up and running.
  • Visit a NIMC Office: Stop by the nearest NIMC office or enrollment centre with your NIN and SIM cards. They would be able to verify your identity, complete your NIN registration, or update your data on their database.

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