The Federal Government has extended the deadline for the people to link their National Identification Numbers (NINs) to their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) by one month.
This was announced on Friday in a statement jointly signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, and the Head of Corporate Communications at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr Kayode Adegoke.
An approval to extend the period of the NIN-SIM linkage to May 6 was given at the meeting of the Ministerial Task Force on NIN-SIM data linkage held on Thursday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The request for the extension was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari and he endorsed it, the statement said.
Based on the updates of the NIN-registration process, the government noted that over 51 million people have been assigned NINs
It added that there were many people who have enrolled and were in the process of being assigned NINs.
“With each individual having an average of three to four SIMs, the total number of SIMs tied to NINs would close to the total number of registered SIMs in the country. The current number of monthly enrollments has increased significantly to about 2.6 million registrations.
“There has also been a remarkable increase in the number of enrolment centres across the country with about 3,800 centres available for enrolments. There are also many more new centres in the pipeline,” the statement said.
The meeting chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, was attended by various stakeholders, including the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa.
Pantami, in his address, noted the importance of obtaining feedback from all stakeholders in order to ensure that the NIN-SIM linkage process was one that cannot easily be compromised.
He thanked Nigerians for their patience and compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on the NIN-SIM registration exercise.
The minister reiterated the government’s commitment to continue taking decisions aimed at easing the pains of the citizens with regard to issues related to NIN and SIM registration.
Earlier on Thursday, Pantami had said Nigerians who fail to enrol for the National Identity Number (NIN) risk imprisonment. He made the comment at the sixth edition of the ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential media team at the State House in Abuja.
He explained that the decision to imprison those without a NIN was in line with the Nigerian Constitution, saying no one should enjoy government services without the number.
Pantami emphasised that while obtaining a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card may be optional, NIN is mandatory, noting that a lot of transactions in the country should not be conducted without the NIN.
He noted that rather than the population census which can be manipulated, NIN will determine the accurate number of Nigerians because of its uniqueness and tamper-proof.
According to the Minister, no fewer than 51 million Nigerians have enrolled for NIN and it is important for transactions in the country to be conducted with the number.
Bawa, in his address, stated that the NIN-SIM linkage would support the Federal Government in checkmating the activities of fraudsters and cybercriminals.
Stakeholders who attended the meeting include the heads of NCC, NIMC, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), as well as a representative of the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
Others were NCC Executive Commissioners Technical Services and Stakeholder Management, as well as the MD/CEOs of MTN, Airtel, EMTS (9Mobile), NTEL, Spectranet, SMILE, and the COO of Glo.