The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced an extension of the deadline for telcos to block SIMs not yet linked to National Identity Number NIN to April 6, 2021. The 2-month extension comes following complaints by several Nigerians who have yet to obtain their NIN, let alone link it to their SIMs.
The decision was the result of a meeting between the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami and the Ministerial Taskforce on NIN-SIM registration which held on February 1, 2021.
According to a statement by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the registration will continue for the next eight weeks to give Nigerians time to register for the NIN and complete the NIN-SIM linkage exercise.
The ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) integration exercise has been extended by 8 weeks, with a new deadline of April 6, 2021Statement by Nigeria’s identity commission, NIMC…
The commission also disclosed that a total of 56.18 million NINs have now been collected by mobile network operators. At an average of 3 to 4 SIMs, over 150 million SIMs have been accounted for in the National identity database. This implies that up to 8 million more NINs have been registered since the last figure (47.8 million) reported on January 18.
Since the commencement of the NIN-SIM exercise, this is the third deadline extension announced by the Federal Government. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had first ordered telecom operators to block SIMs not registered with NIN by December 30.
Widespread backlash led to a 3-week extension to January 19 for subscribers with NINs, and a 5-week extension to February 9 for those without NINs.
But with many mobile subscribers having not linked their NINs, the FG again extended the deadline to February 9 for all subscribers.
Recall that many Nigerians recently faulted the NIN registration process using the #NINRegistrationFlop social media campaign. Due to the massive crowd congestion at several NIN enrolment centres, people expressed concerns over COVID-19 spread and the risk to mobile-dependent small businesses in the country.
A series of extensions had always been the likeliest outcome, with Technext opining in a previous post that the NCC directive was “wrongly timed and simply impractical.”
In line with the Executive Order on COVID-19 2020 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 27th of January 2021, Pantami has implored Nigerians to follow the safety guidelines at NIN enrolment centres and comply with the booking system in place.
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