The Federal Government has said it extended the deadline for the data verification for the National Identity Number (NIN)-Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) from October 31 to the end of the year 2021 to accommodate more Nigerians in the diaspora and give mobile network operators and other industry stakeholders the opportunity to get their acts together.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, who conveyed government’s approval, urged citizens and legal residents to complete the process before the end of the year 2021.
A statement co-signed by the director, public affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde and the head, corporate communications, Nigerian Identity Management Commission, Mr. Kayode Adegoke, over the weekend, said the review of the progress of the exercise indicated that over 66 million unique NIN have been issued – an indication of progress achieved in the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage.
It, however, said 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 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 administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has graciously 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,” it said.
Stakeholders, who lauded government’s decision, said the deadline extension would ensure better compliance with government’s directive to avoid widening the digital divide. They further said the extension would also provide the enabling environment for the registration of Nigerians in remote areas, the 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 statement added that government will also continue to provide an enabling environment for investors in the telecommunications sector.
According to the statement, 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 federal government, through the NCC and the 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. “Consequently, the Honourable Minister enjoins Nigerians and legal residents to use the opportunity of the extension to enrol for their NINs and link with their SIMs. On behalf of the honourable minister, the executive vice-chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta and the director-general/CEO of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu Aziz, urge citizens and legal residents to take advantage of the window to complete the process of enrolment and verification before the end of the year 2021,” the statement added.