By Emmanuel Elebeke

The Federal government  has  approved extension of the deadline for the National Identity Number-Subscriber Identity Module, NIN-SIM, data verification/linkage, while noting that 66 million NIN have been issued.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, conveyed the approval in a joint statement by Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, and  Head, Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission, Mr. Kayode Adegoke on Saturday.

He urged citizens and legal residents to endeavour to complete the process before the end of the year 2021.

Serial extensions

Vanguard reports that the Federal Government is extending the deadline for NIN-SIM linkage for the umpteenth time.

There was an extension was from January 19 to February 9. Then it was moved to April 6 and, again, extended by one month to May 6.

Then it was set at July 26. On July 25, a day before the deadline, it was move to October 31, tomorrow, before the current extension.

The Minister said 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.

He also said that 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.

According to him, the review of the progress of the exercise indicated that over 66 million unique NINs have been issued — an indication of progress achieved in the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage.

He, however, indicated that 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 statement reads in part: “As of October 30, 2021, there were over 9,500 enrolment systems and over 8,000 NIN enrolment centres within and outside the country.

“This has significantly eased the NIN enrolment process and subsequent linkage of NIN to SIM.

“The NIN-SIM verification process is supporting the Government’s drive to develop Nigeria’s digital economy, strengthen our ability to protect our cyberspace and support the security agencies.

“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has graciously approved the extension to accommodate the yearnings of the populace and make it easier for its citizens within and outside the country, and legal residents to obtain the NIN and link it with their SIM.

“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.”

The Minister further enjoined Nigerians and legal residents to take advantage of the window to complete the process of enrolment and verification before the end of the year.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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