The ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) integration exercise as mandated by the Federal Government of Nigeria has been extended by 8 weeks.
The FG has set a new deadline of April 6, 2021, for the integration exercise.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami conveyed the message of the extension during the meeting of the Ministerial Taskforce on NIN-SIM registration held on Monday 1st of February, 2021.
The extension was to give Nigerians and legal residents more time to integrate their NIN with the SIM, according to Dr. Pantami.
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The Federal Government had on 15 December 2020 declared that all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked after 30 December 2020. The mandate faced criticism and backlash from Nigerians and organizations considering the short period time given.
FG later gave six weeks’ extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020, to February 9, 2021.
It was indicated at the meeting that a total of 56.18 million NINs have so far been collected by mobile network operators.
“Each NIN is usually tied to an average of 3 to 4 SIMs and this infers that the current figure accounts for a significant portion of the existing SIMs.
“This number of NINs collected represents a significant increase when compared with the 47.8 million reported by the Technical Committee on January 18, 2021,” the Minister said.
Sections 27 and 29 of the National Identity Management Commission Act 2007 provides for the mandatory use of National Identity Number for transactions, including application and issuance of a passport, the opening of personal bank accounts, purchase of insurance policies, voter registration, obtaining credit, among others.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.