In a statement jointly signed by the spokespersons of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ikechukwu Adinde, and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Kayode Adegoke on Saturday evening, the deadline was extended to the end of the year.
The deadline was extended from Sunday October 31 to the end of the year because of appeals from operations in the telecommunications sectors, Adegoke and Adinde said in the statement.
The Federal Government has shifted the deadline for the SIM-NIN linkage eight times since it announced the original date of December 2020 for compliance with the directive.
“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 remotelinkage 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.”
FG added in the statement that though over 66 million unique National Identity Numbers (NIN) had been issued so far, many Nigerians in and outside the country are yet to be captured.
“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,” it said.
Also, it said as of October 30, over 9,500 enrolment systems and over 8,000 NIN enrolment centres have been established within and outside the country, thus easing the process of enrollment for NIN and subsequent linkage of NIN to SIM.
“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 statement said.
“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 the diaspora should be able to obtain their NINs and link them with their SIMs before the end of the year.”