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Nigeria again extends deadline on SIM card link with NIN till June 30

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…54 mln people obtained their NIN

By Oludare Mayowa

Nigeria has again for the umpteenth time extended the deadline for mobile telephone subscribers to link their National Identity Number (NIN) with their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) data base to June 30, 2021.

A statement by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the extension followed consultation between the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami and other stakeholders in the sector.

“The postponement of the deadline was also based on the request by stakeholders for an extension till 30th of June, 2021 in order to make it easier for all citizens and legal residents to register,” the statement signed by NCC spokesman, Ikechukwu Adinde.

The statement said significant progress has been made in the NIN-SIM verification process.

“For example, almost 54 million people have obtained their NIN and this can translate to up to 190 million mobile numbers since empirical evidence suggests that each unique NIN maps to three to four phone lines.

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“The much-awaited Android enrolment system is now ready for deployment and this has the potential to significantly accelerate the speed and ease of enrolments.

“Furthermore, the telecom providers and other enrolment agents have also opened several centres across the country to make it easier for eligible citizens and residents to obtain and link their NINs,” the NCC said in the statement.

It is noteworthy that Sections 27 and 29 of the National Identity Management Commission Act 2007 provides for the mandatory use of NIN for accessing several government services.

This is similar to the use of Social Security Number and National Insurance Number for accessing services in the United States of America and the United Kingdom respectively.

NCC said the Federal Government has approved the extension as part of its effort to make it easier for its citizens and residents to obtain the NIN and it is important to take advantage of the extension.

In December, the telecom industry regulator directed that all existing mobile phone subscribers should update their SIM registration records with NIN before the end of 2020 after which their SIM would be blocked.

However, the government has since extended the deadline more than five times since the expiry of the first end of 2020 deadline.

Last month, the regulator directed telecoms companies to resume sales of new SIM card to customers with mandatory NIN linking, starting from April 19, 2021.

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