90m telco subscribers risk deactivation as FG says only 57.3m Nigerians have done NIN registration

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As an update to the ongoing NIN-SIM card linkage in the country, the federal government has announced that only 57.3 million Nigerians have done their National Identity Management (NIN) registration. This is just about 28.65% of the 200 million people that make up the country’s population.

The update was given by the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr Aliyu Aziz. He said this at a workshop to co-create a Roadmap for a digital registration system as part of the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System (CRVS) in Nigeria in Abuja on Monday.

Mr Aliyu Aziz

Recall that the NIN is now a requirement for sim registration and subscribers have to submit the identification number to telcos for linking with all their existing sim cards. Sim cards that are not linked will be deactivated eventually, according to the National Communications Commission.

However, getting every telephony subscriber to link their NINs has been a slow process with the deadline having been extended 4 times already. The latest deadline is June 30 and if the NIMC DG’s update is anything to go by, the progress has continued at a snail pace.

About 90 million mobile subscribers may be deactivated

In March, MTN Nigeria said that it had enrolled 37.2 million National Identification Numbers (NINs) for its subscribers in line with the NCC’s directive. This implies that more than 37.2 million subscribers would have submitted their NINs for linking by June.

On February 1, Airtel said that 23.4 million of its then 53.4 million subscribers were yet to submit their NINs. Going by the number of subscribers for January and Airtel’s statement, this implies that 30 million of the telco’s subscribers had sent in the required identification number.

Combined, Airtel and MTN alone have enrolled more than 67.2 million NIN for linking with their sims. This figure excludes the number of NINs that 9mobile, Glo and Visafone have enrolled since the NIN-SIM linkage directive was given. If all the number of enrollees from all the telcos are added together, the number will be more than 67.2 million.

This implies that a sizeable percentage of the 57.3 million people who have registered for the NIN are people who have multiple sims from different telcos.

According to the NCC, the total number of mobile subscribers is now 188.37 million. Since at least 67.2 million subscribers have sent in their NINs from Airtel and MTN and both of them have 124.9 million subscribers according to NCC stats, the number of subscribers whose sim cards can be deactivated can not be more than 57.7 million.

As neither Glo, 9mobile nor Visafone have announced the number of NIN enrollees from their subscriber base, it is difficult to get the estimated portion of the total 188.37 million subscribers whose sim cards are eligible for deactivation. But, considering that it is about half of Airtel and MTN’s subscribers who have enrolled, it is plausible that it is half of the other telcos’ subscribers who have also enrolled.

Glo, 9mobile and Visafone have a combined number of 63.47 million subscribers. If half have enrolled, that means that 31.7 million have submitted their NINs while the remaining 31.7 million have not. This brings the total number of sim cards that may be deactivated up to 89.4 million.

However, considering that the deadline for the NIN-Sim linkage has been extended four times already and only 57.3 million out of 200 million people have done NIN registration, a 5th and 6th extension is very possible at this point to avoid massive loss of subscribers to telcos.

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