From Cyriacus Nnaji, Lagos
Ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) integration exercise has been extended by 8 weeks, with a new deadline of April 6, 2021.
This message was conveyed by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) during the meeting of the Ministerial Taskforce on NIN-SIM registration held on February 1, 2021.
Dr Pantami stated that the extension was to give Nigerians and legal residents more time to integrate their NIN with the SIM.
In a statement jointly signed by Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Mr. Kayode Adegoke, Head, Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission, the meeting was chaired by the Honourable Minister and attended by key stakeholders, including the EVC/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), DG/CEO of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), DG/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
Others include the MD/CEOs of MTN, Airtel, 9Mobile, Ntel, Spectranet and SMILE, as well as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Globacom.
It was reported that a total of 56.18 million NINs have been collected by the 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.
Furthermore, over 1, 060 registration centres for NIN have been activated and made operational by NIMC across the country, while Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have opened hundreds of centres and are rapidly deploying resources to open thousands of other NIN enrolment centres across states of the country.
This is in line with the policy of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to enhance security and make the process of obtaining NINs easier for Nigerians.
The CEOs of the telcos and the Chairman of the ALTON commended the Honourable Minister for his stellar leadership and commitment to the rapid development of the sector.
Dr. Pantami reiterates the need for Nigerians and legal residents, who are yet to register for the NIN, to be diligent and take advantage of the extension to enrol for their NIN and link with their SIMs.
It would be recalled that the 4th of February, 2020 was the initial date of the commencement of the National NIN-SIM Registration Policy.
The Federal Government of Nigeria applauded Nigerians and persons of other nationalities for their understanding, cooperation and for enthusiastically participating in the exercise.
The Minister also commended the efforts of NIMC, NCC, MNOs and all other relevant government and private sector organisations for their unflinching support towards the success of the exercise.
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his satisfaction with the progress made regarding the NIN-SIM linkage and commended the Honourable Minister and all stakeholders for their roles. He encouraged citizens to take advantage of the extension to fully participate in the process.
The Honourable minister implored applicants to follow the safety guidelines at all the NIN enrolment centers and ensure compliance with the booking system in place. This protocol is in line with the Executive Order on COVID-19 2020 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 27th of January 2021, in keeping with the provisions of the Quarantine Act 2004.
It is noteworthy that Sections 27 and 29 of the NIMC Act 2007 provides for the mandatory use of NIN for transactions, including application and issuance of a passport, opening of personal bank accounts, purchase of insurance policies, voter registration, obtaining credit, among others.