The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has ordered mobile network providers to suspend sale, activation, and registration of new SIM cards to allow another audit of the Subscriber Registration Database.

The suspension, according to a statement issued on Wednesday by the NCC Director of Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, is in line with the Federal Government’s desire to consolidate the achievement of the SIM card registration exercise of September 2019.

“The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to embark on another audit of the Subscriber Registration Database again,” the statement said.

Adinde noted that the objective of the audit exercise is to verify and ensure compliance by Mobile Network Operators with the set quality standards and requirements of SIM card registration as issued by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Commission.

“Accordingly, Mobile Network Operators are hereby directed to immediately suspend the sale, registration and activation of new SIM Cards until the audit exercise is concluded, and Government has conveyed the new direction,” he said.

“However, where it is absolutely necessary, an exemption may be granted in writing by the Commission following approval from the Federal Government.”

He warned Mobile Network Operators that non-compliance with this directive will be met with strict sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license.

Adinde said the minister had earlier directed, in January 2020, all citizens to immediately secure Digital Identification from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and submit it to the network operators