By Olasunkanmi Onifade
The Federal Government has approved the extension of the deadline National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) integration exercise untill June 30.
This is contained in a statement co-signed by Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Head, Corporate Communications,Mr Kayode Adegoke National Identity Management Commission(NIMC).
The extension, the federal government said, was as a result of the virtual meeting chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami and attended by following officials- Chairman of NCC, Prof Adeolu Akande.
Others are the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Dambatta and the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Aliyu Azeez.
The minister said the postponement of the deadline was also based on the request by stakeholders for an extension untill June 30 in order to make it easier for all citizens and legal residents to register.
“Significant progress has been made in the NIN-SIM verification process.
” For example, almost 54 Million people have obtained their NIN and this can translate to up to 190 Million mobile numbers, since empirical evidence suggests that each unique NIN maps to three to four phone lines,” Pantami said.
The government said the much awaited Android enrollment system is now ready for deployment and this had the potential to significantly accelerate the speed and ease of enrollment.
” Furthermore, the telecom providers and other enrollment agents have also opened several centres across the country to make it easier for eligible citizens and residents to obtain and link their NINs.
” 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 accessing several government services.
” This is similar to the use of Social Security Number and National Insurance Number for accessing services in the United States of America and the United Kingdom respectively,” the federal government said.
Pantami appreciated Nigerians for their patience and compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on the NIN-SIM registration exercise.
He reiterated government’s commitment to continually taking decisions aimed at easing the pains of the citizens with regard to issues related to NIN and SIM registration.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Dec. 15, 2020, the federal government declared that after Dec. 30, 2020, all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked.The federal government later extended the December 30, 2020 deadline following widespread opposition against the earlier announcement and gave three weeks’ extension for subscribers with NIN from Dec. 30, 2020 to Jan. 19, 2021.
The federal government later gave six weeks’ extension for subscribers without NIN from Dec. 30, 2020 to Feb. 9, 2021 and further issued an eight weeks extension on Feb. 2, 2021.