The federal government on Saturday announced further extension of the SIM card linkage with National Identity Number (NIN) till December 31, 2021.
The deadline was to elapse on Sunday October 31, but the government has by this decision, extended the verification by two months.
The decision to extend the SIM card linkage with National Identity Number was disclosed in a statement jointly signed by Heads, Media and Public Communications of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Kayode Adegoke, respectively, and made available to the media.
This development makes it the eighth time the government would extend the deadline for the registration since it mandated compulsory registration and linkage in December 2020.
The statement read: “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 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.”
It also said that the review of the progress of the exercise indicated that over 66 million unique National Identity Numbers (NIN) have been issued – an indication of progress achieved in the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage
The statement added: “However, a significant part of the populace is yet to be registered into the National Identity Database (NIDB), which may be due to some challenges which the Federal Government has looked into and has made efforts to alleviate, hence the need to extend the deadline,
“The Federal Government will ensure that all innocent, law-abiding citizens and residents will not lose access to their phone lines as long as they obtain and link their NIN. Government will also continue to provide an enabling environment for investors in the telecommunications sector.
“The unique 66 million NIN enrolments, with an average of 3 to 4 SIMs linked to the NIN, is a testament to the commitment and dedication of the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), to ensure the success of the project.
“With the creation of additional NIN enrolment centres within and outside the country, and many more coming up, the remaining citizens and legal residents living in the country and in the Diaspora should be able to obtain their NINs and link them with their SIMs before the end of the year.”
It said as of October 30, there were over 9,500 enrolment systems and over 8,000 NIN enrolment centres within and outside the country, stressing that this has significantly eased the NIN enrolment process and subsequent linkage of NIN to SIM.