The Nigerian government has ordered the immediate cancellation of the N20 fee for the retrieval of national identity number (NIN) on mobile networks.
The country’s minister of communication and digital economy, Isa Ali Pantami gave the directive on Friday, and will take effect immediately.
Nigerians who are subscribed to MTN, Airtel, 9mobile, and Glo networks had been advised by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) that they could retrieve their NIN on their phone by dialing the shortcode *346#.
But the N20 fee has generated widespread criticism from Nigerians due to the poor economic condition of the country.
A statement by Uwa Suleiman, his spokesperson, said Umar Danbatta, the executive vice-chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Aliyu Aziz, director-general of NIMC, had met with relevant stakeholders and negotiated a waiver with mobile network operators.
“By this waiver, all Nigerians, subscribers and applicants can access the service using the *346# code for their NIN retrieval at no charge for the duration of the NIN/SIM Card integration exercise,” the statement read.
Pantami commended the efforts of stakeholders in promoting national interest.
The NCC had asked telecommunications companies to block SIM cards not registered with NIN by December 30.
The government had also licensed 173 centres and 30 state government institutions to conduct enrolment of all persons including legal residents into the National Identity Database (NIDB).
By Abel Ejikeme