The FG has extended the deadline for linking SIM and NIN since the database has grown to 66 million records.

According to various sources, the Federal Government of Nigeria has extended the deadline for citizens to incorporate their subscriber identity module (SIM) into the National Identification Number (NIN) database.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), has received consent from the Federal Government to extend the deadline for SIM-NIN verification.

Citizens and legal residents are urged to complete the process before the end of 2021, according to a joint statement signed by Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, director, Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Mr. Kayode Adegoke, head, Corporate Communications at the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

Remember that the government set a deadline of October 31, 2021 for the SIM-NIN merger.

But, it was gathered that 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 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”, the message reads.

According to an evaluation of the exercise’s progress, over 66 million unique National Identity Numbers (NIN) have been issued, indicating that progress in the continuing SIM-NIN connection has been made.

“However, a large portion of the population is yet to be registered in the National Identity Database (NIDB), which may be owing to several challenges that the Federal Government has investigated and attempted to resolve, necessitating the need to extend the deadline.

“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 SIM-NIN 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.

“His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has graciously approved the extension to suit the public’s desires and make it easier for individuals both inside and outside the country, as well as legal residents, to receive the NIN and link it to their SIM.” As long as they receive and link their NIN, the federal government will ensure that all innocent, law-abiding citizens and residents will not lose access to their phone lines.

“The government will also continue to create a favorable climate for telecoms investors,” he said.

“The 66 million NIN enrolments, with an average of 3 to 4 SIMs linked to the NIN, are a tribute to the Federal Government’s commitment and dedication to the project’s success, as exemplified by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).” The remaining citizens and legal residents living in the country and the diaspora should be able to obtain their NINs and link them to their SIMs before the end of the year, thanks to the creation of additional NIN enrolment centers both inside and outside the country, as well as many more on the way.

“As a result, the Honourable Minister encourages Nigerians and legal residents to take advantage of the extension to enrol for NINs and link them to their SIM cards.”

“On behalf of the Honourable Minister, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, and Engr. Aliyu Aziz, Director-General/CEO of NIMC, urge citizens and legal residents to take advantage of the window to complete the enrolment and verification process before the end of the year 2021,” the statement concludes.

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