LEGAL/POLICY

Nigeria Praises Citizens, Extends NIN-SIM Linkage Deadline By 2 Months

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  • April 6 Now New Deadline

By Clifford Agugoesi, Editor-in-Chief

The Nigerian Government, under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari , may have considered the untold sufferings citizens were going through and manifold advocacies for succor, among other interventions, as a result of the ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) integration exercise and moved to extend the exercise by 8 weeks, with a new deadline of April 6, 2021. It would be recalled that the February 4, 2020 was the initial date of the commencement of the National NIN-SIM Registration Policy.

This cheery message was conveyed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy(MFMoCDE), Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, during the meeting of the Ministerial Taskforce on NIN-SIM registration which held on February 1, 2021. A joint release on the development signed by the Director of Public Affairs(DPA) of the Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC) Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde and Head, Corporate Communications at the Nigeria Identity Management Commission(NIMC), Kayode Adegoke says Dr. Pantami stated that the extension became imperative to give Nigerians and legal residents more time to integrate their NIN with the SIM.

The meeting, chaired by the Minister himself, was attended by critical stakeholders, including the EVC/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), DG/CEO of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), DG/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON). Others included the MD/CEOs of MTN, Airtel, 9Mobile, Ntel, Spectranet and SMILE, as well as the COO of Globacom.

Arising from the meeting under review, it was reported that a total of 56.18 million NINs had been collected by the mobile network operators. According to the statement, “each NIN is usually tied to an average of 3 to 4 SIMs and this infers that the current figure accounts for a significant portion of the existing SIMs. This number of NINs collected represents a significant increase when compared with the 47.8 million reported by the Technical Committee on January 18, 2021.

“Furthermore, over 1060 registration centres for NIN have been activated and made operational by NIMC across the country, while Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have opened hundreds of centres and are rapidly deploying resources to open thousands of other NIN enrolment centres across states of the country. This is in line with the policy of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to enhance security and make the process of obtaining NINs easier for Nigerians.”

The CEOs of the telcos and the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria commended the Minister for his stellar leadership and commitment to the rapid development of the sector.

Dr. Pantami reiterated the need for Nigerians and legal residents who are yet to register for the NIN to be diligent and take advantage of the extension to enroll for their NIN and link with their SIMs.

According to the statement , the Federal Government of Nigeria applauded all Nigerians and persons of other nationalities for their understanding, cooperation and for enthusiastically participating in the exercise. The Minister also commended the efforts of NIMC, NCC, MNOs and all other relevant government and private sector organisations for their unflinching support towards the success of the exercise.

Part of the statement reads: “President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his satisfaction with the progress made regarding the NIN-SIM linkage and commended the Honourable Minister and all stakeholders for their roles. He encouraged citizens to take advantage of the extension to fully participate in the process.

The Honourable minister implores applicants to follow the safety guidelines at all the NIN enrolment centers and ensure compliance with the booking system in place. This protocol is in line with the Executive Order on COVID-19 2020 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 27th of January 2021, in keeping with the provisions of the Quarantine Act 2004.

It is noteworthy that Sections 27 and 29 of the National Identity Management Commission Act 2007 provides for the mandatory use of National Identity Number for transactions, including application and issuance of a passport, opening of personal bank accounts, purchase of insurance policies, voter registration, obtaining credit, among others.”

Many Nigerians and consumer advocacy groups had taken to both conventional and social media to appeal to the government to extend the deadline for the NIN-SIM synchronization to minimize sufferings of the citizens occasioned by the exercise. President of the National Association of telecommunications Consumers of Nigeria(NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo , for example, speaking to TVC advised the Federal Government to extend the exercise by an initial 6 months, with an appeal to telcos to come up with applications(apps) to make the exercise more effective and efficient.

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