Nigeria’s mobile network operators, MTN and 9mobile have complied with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) order to all mobile network operators to suspend the sale, registration and activation of new sim cards.

This order came after there were some anomalies in the selling, registration and activation of new sim cards in the West Africa nation.

“In line with the NCC directive to all mobile network operators, we have suspended the sales, registration and activation of new SIM cards across all our touchpoints,” said MTN Nigeria, the country’s leading mobile network operator, in a statement on Friday.

9mobile took to the microblogging site, Twitter to apologise to their customers.

“Due to an ongoing audit exercise by the NCC, all mobile network operators have been directed by the NCC to immediately put on hold the sales and activation of all new SIM cards, the processing of SIM swaps and porting, until further notice, “ reads part of the statement.

“We sincerely apologise for any inconveniences caused by this regulatory directive as we work round the clock with the NCC to restore normal operations, as soon as possible.”

In a statement on Wednesday, the NCC public affairs director Ikechukwu Adinde said the directive emanated from Communications and Digital Economy minister Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami to pave way for an audit of the subscriber registration database.

“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 Communications and Digital Economy Ministry and the Commission.

Adinde said however, where it is absolutely necessary, exemption may be granted in writing by the NCC following approval from the federal government. The NCC has been conducting card registration database audits since January 2019.

In May 2019, the NCC launched a second phase of the SIM card registration exercise and in September millions of MTN Nigeria subscribers were ordered to re-register their SIM cards due to irregularities.

According to the regulator, to date they have deactivated over 2 million improperly registered sim cards following the September 2019 registration.

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