The federal government has extended the ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) integration exercise by 8 weeks, with a new deadline of April 6, 2021.
According to a statement jointly signed by Director Public Affairs, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde and Head, Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, Mr Kayode Adegoke, the extension conveyed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim during the meeting of the Ministerial Taskforce on NIN-SIM registration which held on Monday.
Dr Pantami stated that the extension is to give Nigerians and legal residents more time to integrate their NIN with the SIM.
The meeting was chaired by the Minister and attended by key 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 include the MD/CEOs of MTN, Airtel, 9Mobile, Ntel, Spectranet and SMILE, as well as the COO of Globacom.
The meeting indicated that a total of 56.18 million NINs have so far been collected by mobile network operators.
“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,” the Minister said.
Pantami further disclosed that over 1,060 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, he said 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.
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 enrol for their NIN and link with their SIMs.
The minister implores applicants to follow the safety guidelines at all the NIN enrolment centres 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.
While thanking all Nigerians and persons of other nationalities for their understanding, cooperation and enthusiasm in 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.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his satisfaction with the progress made regarding the NIN-SIM linkage and commended the Minister and all stakeholders for their roles. He encouraged citizens to take advantage of the extension to fully participate in the process.
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, the opening of personal bank accounts, purchase of insurance policies, voter registration, obtaining credit, among others.
It would be recalled that the exercise was earlier fixed for 9th February 2021 until the extension.
This came after the initial date of 4th February 2020 for the commencement of the National NIN-SIM Registration Policy.
Meanwhile, the CEOs of the Telcos and the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Organisation of Nigeria used the opportunity to commend the Minister for his stellar leadership and commitment to the rapid development of the sector.