The Federal Government has given Nigerians until the end of this year to link their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards with their National Identification Number (NIN). The extension of the NIN-SIM linkage exercise followed the expiration of the earlier fixed October 31, deadline.
According to a statement co-signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof, Ikechukwu Adinde, and the Head, Corporate Communications at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Kayode Adegoke, the decision to extend the deadline was made further to appeals by the Mobile Network Operators and other industry stakeholders, soliciting for a further extension to ensure better compliance with government’s directive and to avoid widening the digital divide.
The statement added that the extension would also provide the enabling environment for the registration of Nigerians in remote areas, diaspora, schools, hospitals, worship centres, as well as foreigners, diplomatic missions, those in other areas that were hitherto unreachable, and increase enrolments in countries with a significant number of Nigerians.
“The review of the progress of the exercise indicated that over 66 million unique National Identity Numbers (NIN) have been issued- an indication of progress achieved in the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage. However, a significant part of the populace is yet to be registered into the National Identity Database (NIDB), which may be due to some challenges which the Federal Government has looked into and has made efforts to alleviate, hence the need to extend the deadline.
“As of October 30, 2021, there were over 9,500 enrolment systems and over 8,000 NIN enrolment centres within and outside the country- this has significantly eased the NIN enrolment process and subsequent linkage of NIN to SIM. The NIN-SIM verification process is supporting the Government’s drive to develop Nigeria’s digital economy, strengthen our ability to protect our cyberspace and support the security agencies,” the government stated.
According to the statement, President Buhari, approved the extension to accommodate the yearnings of the populace and make it easier for its citizens within and outside the country, and legal residents to obtain the NIN and link it with their SIM.
“The Federal Government will ensure that all innocent, law-abiding citizens and residents will not lose access to their phone lines as long as they obtain and link their NIN. The government will also continue to provide an enabling environment for investors in the telecommunications sector,” the statement added.
It noted that the unique 66 million NIN enrolments, with an average of 3 to 4 SIMs linked to the NIN, is a testament to the commitment and dedication of the Government, through the NCC NIMC, to ensure the success of the project. “With the creation of additional NIN enrolment centres within and outside the country, and many more coming up, the remaining citizens and legal residents living in the country and the diaspora should be able to obtain their NINs and link them with their SIMs before the end of the year,” the government added.