Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, on Saturday conveyed the approval of the federal government to extend the deadline for the National Identity Number (NIN)-Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) data verification, from October 31, 2021 to December 31, 2021.
Pantami, in a statement jointly signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde and the Head, Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr. Kayode Adegoke, urged Nigerians and legal residents to complete the process before the end of 2021.
According to Pantami, the decision to extend the deadline was due to the appeals by the Mobile Network Operators and other industry stakeholders, for further extension to ensure better compliance with government’s directive and to avoid widening the digital divide.
He said 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, and those in other areas that were hitherto unreachable.
The minister added that the extension will also help to increase enrolments in countries with a significant number of Nigerians.
Yesterday’s extension of the deadline was the ninth extension by the federal governmen since the directive on NIN-SIM verification and linkage was issued in December 2020.
Following the inability of Nigerians to meet up with the initial December 31, 2020 deadline, the federal government had continued to extend the deadline.
Giving the review of the progress of the NIN-SIM registration and verification exercise, Pantami said over 66 million unique National Identity Numbers (NIN) have been issued- an indication of progress achieved in the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage.
He however said a significant part of the populace was yet to be registered into the National Identity Database (NIDB), which he said, may be due to some challenges which the federal government had looked into and had 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 President Muhammadu Buhari, 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. Government will also continue to provide an enabling environment for investors in the telecommunications sector,” Pantami explained in the statement.
“The unique 66 million NIN enrolments, with an average of three to four SIMs linked to the NIN, is a testament to the commitment and dedication of the federal government, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Identity Management Commission (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.”
Pantami therefore enjoined Nigerians and legal residents to make use of the opportunity of the extension to enrol for their NINs and link with their SIMs before the end of the year 2021.