By Our Editor
The Federal Government has again extended the deadline for the National Identity Number (NIN)-Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) data verification.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, who announced this, urged Nigerians and legal residents to complete the process before the end of the year 2021.
This was disclosed in a statement on Saturday jointly signed by the spokespersons for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Ikechukwu Adinde and Kayode Adegoke, respectively.
Both men had in a statement in June announced October 31 as the deadline for the linkage of SIM and NIN. But the government has extended the deadline by additional two months.
“The decision to extend the deadline was made further to appeals by the mobile network operators 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 statement released on Saturday said.
“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.”
According to the statement, the review of the progress of the exercise shows that over 66 million unique NINs have been issued – an indication of progress achieved in the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage.
But a significant part of the populace has yet to be registered into the National Identity Database (NIDB) – a situation which the government said might be due to some challenges which it 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 statement added. “The NIN-SIM verification process is supporting the government’s drive to develop Nigeria’s digital economy, strengthen our ability to protect our cyberspace, and support the security agencies.
“The administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has graciously approved the extension 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 government promised to ensure that all innocent and law-abiding citizens and residents do not lose access to their phone lines as long as they obtain and link their NIN, saying it would continue to provide an enabling environment for investors in the telecommunications sector.