Nigeria has blocked 73 million phone numbers because they were not linked to the National Identity Numbers (NINs).
In 2011, African countries including Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, and Nigeria, agreed to enforce SIM Registration laws to curb cybercrimes, identity theft, and scams. Nigeria rolled out a mandatory 11-digit digital identity number that requires citizens to register their personal details, photos, and biometrics.
“The National Identity Number (NIN) is required to open a bank account, apply for a driver's license, vote, get health insurance, and file tax returns,” Reuters reported.
Over the past five years, the country has been postponing the deadline to link SIM cards with NINs. Earlier this month, numbers that had not been linked to NINs were blocked from making outgoing calls. Eventually, these numbers will be blocked entirely.
Critics have noted that the program gives the government a lot of information that could result in privacy issues. But the government insists that the program will help reduce cybercrimes such as identity theft.