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By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has extended the deadline for the linkage of the National Identification Number (NIN) to the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card of mobile phone owners in the country by one month.

This was announced on Friday in a statement jointly signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr Ikechukwu Adinde, and the Head of Corporate Communications at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr Kayode Adegoke.

The statement explained that the approval to extend the period of the NIN-SIM linkage to the new date was given at the meeting of the Ministerial Task Force on NIN-SIM data linkage held on Thursday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The request for the extension was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari and he endorsed it, the statement said.

Subscribers were earlier given till April 6, 2021, to link their phone lines to their NINs but with this development, they now have till May 6, 2021, to do this.

Business Post had earlier reported that over 51 million people in the country have been assigned NINs.

The statement confirmed this and added that there were many people who have enrolled and were in the process of being assigned their unique 11-digit number.

“With each individual having an average of three to four SIMs, the total number of SIMs tied to NINs would 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,” the statement said.

The meeting, chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami, was attended by various stakeholders, including the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa.

Mr Pantami, in his address, noted the importance of obtaining feedback from all stakeholders in order to ensure that the NIN-SIM linkage process was one that cannot easily be compromised.

He thanked Nigerians for their patience and compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on the NIN-SIM registration exercise.

The Minister reiterated the government’s commitment to continue taking decisions aimed at easing the pains of the citizens with regard to issues related to NIN and SIM registration.

Mr Bawa, in his address, stated that the NIN-SIM linkage would support the federal government in checkmating the activities of fraudsters and cybercriminals.

Stakeholders who attended the meeting included the heads of NCC, NIMC, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), as well as a representative of the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).

Others were NCC Executive Commissioners Technical Services and Stakeholder Management, as well as the MD/CEOs of MTN, Airtel, EMTS (9Mobile), NTEL, Spectranet, SMILE, and the COO of Glo.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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