FG Extends NIN-SIM Linkage to May 6 as Registration Centres Rise to 3,800

4 Months Later, why has the FG Suddenly Resumed SIM Sales and Registration?
4 Months Later, why has the FG Suddenly Resumed SIM Sales and Registration?

The Federal Government has extended the deadline for linkage of Sim cards with National Identification Number (NIN) to May 6, 2021. This was disclosed at the meeting of the Ministerial Task Force on the NIN-SIM data linkage. The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.

This is the third extension of the SIM-NIN linkage deadline after it was moved from December 2020 to February 2021 and then later by two months to April 6, 2021.

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Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami speaking at an event

According to a joint statement released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), this latest extension was necessary because there are many people, who have enrolled and are in the process of being assigned NINs.

An approval was given to extend the period of the NIN-SIM linkage to the 6th of May, 2021. The request for the extension was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari and he endorsed it.

Isa Ali Pantami

The minister also said that over 51 million people have so far been assigned NINs. He noted that with each individual having an average of 3 to 4 SIMs, the total number of SIMs tied to NINs would be close to the total number of registered SIMs in the country. This is a huge improvement considering that as of March 1, less than half of total subscribers have been awarded NINs.

Recall that the FG recently extended NIN registration licence for telcos to 5 years. This was in recognition of how immensely telcos had contributed to the NIN registration process by making it a lot more efficient and a lot less tasking. Undoubtedly, this has contributed to the immense rise in NIN issuance.

FG Extends NIN-SIM Linkage to May 6 as Registration Centres Rise to 3,800 Across the Country
MTN NIN enrolment centre

According to the joint statement, the current number of monthly enrolments has increased to about 2.6 million registrations. This could also be attributed to the remarkable increase in the number of enrolment centres across the country with about 3,800 centres available for enrolments.

The Chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa who was present at the meeting noted that the NIN-SIM linkage would support the Federal Government in checkmating the activities of fraudsters and cybercriminals.

Recent reports making the rounds quoted the minister of communications as saying failure to link NIN-SIM would not only attract SIM blockage but also a fine and possible prison sentence. While it remains to be seen if these threats push more Nigerians to register and link their NINs, the continuous extensions could also be interpreted by many to mean in the long run, the FG might be unable to carry out its threats.

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