The Federal Government has again extended the NIN-SIM linkage exercise by one month, as only about 51 million subscribers have been registered in the NIMC database.
This comes after a Federal High Court in Lagos State barred the government from blocking SIMs not linked to NIN upon the April 6 deadline. This was a result of a lawsuit from a former second National Vice-President of Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Monday Ubani.
Ubani had filed an originating motion asking the court to stop the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) from disconnecting all SIM Cards not linked to NINs. His reasons were ascribed to the slow pace of the registration process.
Delivering judgment on March 23, 2021, Justice M.A Onyetenu, ordered that the deadline be extended by two months from the day of the judgement. Following this, the ministerial task force meeting on the NIN-SIM linkage, extended the period of the exercise to May 6, 2021.
The meeting which was chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, took place on Thursday. The request for the extension was said to have been presented to and endorsed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to the Minister, the NIN-registration process has seen over 51 million people have been assigned NINs. There are also many people who have enrolled and are in the process of being assigned NINs. He said with each individual having an average of 3 to 4 SIMs, the total number of SIMs tied to NINs is close to the total number of registered SIMs in the country.
“The current number of monthly enrollments has increased significantly to about 2.6 million registrations. There has also been a remarkable increase in the number of enrolment centres across the country with about 3,800 centres available for enrollments . There are also many more new centres in the pipeline,” he said.
Dr Pantami thanked Nigerians for their patience and compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on the NIN-SIM registration exercise. He reiterated government’s commitment to continually taking decisions aimed at easing the pains of the citizens with regard to issues related to NIN and SIM registration.
Also in attendance, the Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated that the NIN-SIM linkage would support government in checkmating the activities of fraudsters and cybercriminals. He expressed optimism over the situation of cybersecurity because of the NIN-SIM progress.
The meeting was attended by several stakeholders, including the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Director General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Others in attendance were Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Representative of the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), MD/CEOs of MTN, Airtel, EMTS (9Mobile), NTEL, Spectranet and SMILE, as well as the COO of Glo.
- The Sun