The Nigerian government has extended the period for phone users to link their SIM numbers to their National Identification Numbers (NIN).
The exercise will now continue till April 6, the government announced.
The eight-week extension was announced by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, at the ministerial taskforce meeting on NIN-SIM registration on Tuesday.
Mr Pantami said the extension is to give Nigerians and legal residents more time to integrate their NIN with the SIM.
The meeting was chaired by the Mr Pantami and attended by the CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, DG/CEO of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), DG/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
Others include the MD/CEOs of MTN, Airtel, 9Mobile, Ntel, Spectranet and SMILE, as well as the COO of Globacom.
A total of 56.18 million NINs have been collected by the mobile network operators, a statement issued by spokespersons of NCC and NIMC Ikechukwu Adinde and Kayode Adegoke respectively.
This number of NINs collected represents a significant increase when compared to the 47.8 million reported by the technical committee on January 18.
Also, 1060 registration centres for NIN have been activated and made operational by NIMC across the country, while mobile network operators have opened hundreds of centres and are rapidly deploying resources to open thousands of other NIN enrolment centres across states of the country, the statement said.
“This is in line with the policy of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to enhance security and make the process of obtaining NINs easier for Nigerians,” Mr Pantami said.
Mr Pantami reiterated the need for Nigerians and legal residents who are yet to register for the NIN to take advantage of the extension and enroll for their NIN and link with their SIMs.
Mr Pantami faced criticisms after he initially directed phone users to complete the registration within few weeks at a time of COVID-19 pandemic or be disconnected. This is the third time the government is extending the deadline.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria applauds all Nigerians and persons of other nationalities for their understanding, cooperation and for enthusiastically participating in the exercise,” he said.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his satisfaction with the progress made regarding the NIN-SIM linkage and commended the Honourable Minister and all stakeholders for their roles. He encouraged citizens to take advantage of the extension to fully participate in the process,”.
“Mr Pantami implores applicants to follow the safety guidelines at all the NIN enrolment centers and ensure compliance with the booking system in place.
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