NIN-SIM Linkage: Government extends deadline, restates ban on new SIM cards registration still in force

*The Federal Government has granted an approval to extend the period of NIN-SIM linkage to May 6, 2021, following approval of the request for extension of the exercise by President Muhammadu Buhari

*The Minister for Communications and Digital Economy discloses the ban on new SIM cards registration remains in force, as updates of the NIN registration process showed over 51 million people have been assigned NINs in Nigeria

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In line with its commitment to taking decisions aimed at easing the pains of Nigerians in matters of national importance, the Federal Government has extended the deadline for the citizenry to link their National Identification Numbers (NINs) to their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards by a month.

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director of Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); and Mr. Kayode Adegoke, Head of Corporate Communications at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), announced this development in a joint statement issued Friday, April 2, 2021.

Waiting crowds for NIN Registration at NIMC Headquarters in Abuja, FCT

The duo disclosed that the government granted an approval to extend the period of the NIN-SIM linkage to May 6 at the media briefing of the sixth edition of the Ministerial Task Force meeting on NIN-SIM data linkage Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, FCT.

ConsumerConnect reports the meeting chaired by Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, was attended by various stakeholders in the Telecoms/Information and Communications Technology ecosystem in the country.

The joint statement noted that the request for the extension was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari earlier, and he endorsed it.

The government stressed that in view of the updates of the NIN registration process, over 51 million people have been assigned NINs in the country thus far.

There are several people who have enrolled, and are in the process of being assigned NINs, said the statement.

It explained: “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.”

Nigerian telcos’ SIM cards

The statement added: “There has also been a remarkable increase in the number of enrolment centres across the country with about 3,800 centres available for enrollments. There are also many more new centres in the pipeline.”

Earlier in his address at the Ministerial Task Force on NIN-SIM data linkage Thursday, Dr. Pantami 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.

The Minister commended Nigerians for their patience and compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on the NIN-SIM registration exercise.

He restated the government’s commitment to continuing to take decisions aimed at easing the pains of the citizens with regard to issues related to NIN and SIM registration in the country.

In his presentation, Mr. Bawa, EFCC Chairman, stated that the NIN-SIM linkage would support the Federal Government in checkmating the activities of fraudsters and cybercriminals.

Among the top stakeholders who attended the meeting include Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Directors-General of NCC, NIMC, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), a representative of the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).

Others in attendance are NCC Executive Commissioners Technical Services and Stakeholder Management, as well as the Managing Directors/CEOs of MTN, Airtel, EMTS (9Mobile), NTEL, Spectranet, SMILE, and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Globacom.

Meanwhile, Dr. Pantami warned that while the failure to obtain the NIN could lead to imprisonment for Nigerians as stipulated by the Constitution, as no one should enjoy government services without the number.

The Minister stressed although obtaining a SIM card is optional, yet it is mandatory for all citizens to enroll for NINs.

According to him, it is important for transactions in the country to be conducted with the NINs.

Rather than the population census which can be manipulated, NIN will determine the accurate number of Nigerians because of its uniqueness and tamper-proof, Pantami noted.

He equally announced that the aggregate registration for SIM across the country has hit 189 million.

Out of the figure, 150 million are completed registration while the remaining 39 million subscribers have problems of improper registration as of now.

The minister decried that improper registration of SIMs has posed a challenge and the government has begun to address them.

Ban on new SIM registration still in force, says Minister  

Dr. Pantami has restated that the Federal Government said the current ban on registration of new SIM cards for Nigerian telecom products and service consumers will stay in place for a little while longer.

 

The Minister for Communication and Digital Economy also disclosed this to State House Correspondents Thursday during the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Media Team, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Pantami stated that the Federal Government took the decision with the intent to protect Nigerians and make the country safe from insecurity.

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