- As NIN-SIM verification hits 66m
- FG postpones deadline till year end
The federal government has said despite the progress so far recorded in the ongoing linkage and verification of National Identification Numbers (NIN) and Subscribers Identification Modules (SIM), millions of Nigerians have not been captured National Identity Database (NIDB).
The government disclosed over the weekend that as at the last count on October 30, no fewer than 66 million Nigerians are now compliant with the directive and are captured in NIDB.
It further said that on the average, 3 SIM cards are linked to each of the NIN which thus conservatively puts telephone lines already captured in the exercise at over 198 million.
In a statement co-issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission 9NCC) and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the government said over 66 million unique NIN have been issued, indicating progress achieved in the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage exercise.
Knowing that the millions of Nigerians are yet to be caught in the database, the federal government has announced extension of the exercise till the end of the year from initial October end deadline.
The statement read: “However, 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 Federal 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 its ability to protect cyberspace and support the security agencies.
The deadline extension was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari as proposed by Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.
According to the jointly signed press statement, this became imperative 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 FG promised to 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,” said the statement signed by Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, NCC and Kayode Adegoke, Head, Corporate Communications, NIMC.
“With the creation of additional NIN enrolment centres within and outside the country, and many more coming up, government promised that 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 Minister has enjoined Nigerians and legal residents to make use of the opportunity of the extension to enroll for their NINs and link with their SIMs.
Also, Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, and Aliyu Aziz, the Director-General/CEO of NIMC, have urged 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 authorities noted that the decision to extend the deadline was made further to appeals by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and other industry stakeholders, soliciting for a further extension to ensure better compliance with government’s directive and to avoid widening the digital divide.
“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, those in other areas that were hitherto unreachable, and increase enrolments in countries with a significant number of Nigerians,” the government said.