The Federal Government has extended the deadline for linking Subscriber Identification Modules with valid National Identity Numbers by one month.
It announced the extension on Friday in a statement issued in Abuja by the spokesperson of the National Identity Management Commission, Kayode Adegoke.
The deadline was extended from April 6, 2021, to May 6, 2021, after participants at the meeting of the Ministerial Task Force on NIN-SIM data linkage agreed to have an extension of the process.
The statement read in part, “The meeting took place on Thursday, April 1, 2021, and approval was given to extend the period of the NIN-SIM linkage to the 6th of May, 2021.“The request for the extension was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari and he endorsed it.”
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, chaired the meeting.
The meeting was attended by key stakeholders, including the NIMC, Nigerian Communications Commission, National Information Technology Development Agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigeria Immigration Service and the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria.
Others include the managing directors of MTN, Airtel, EMTS (9Mobile), NTEL, Spectranet and SMILE, as well as the chief operating officer of Glo.
The statement also stated that based on the updates of the NIN registration process, over 51 million people had been assigned NINs.
“There are many people who have enrolled and are in the process of being assigned NINs,” it stated.
The statement added, “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.”
It said the current number of monthly enrollments had 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,” it stated.
The NIMC said there were also many more new centres in the pipeline.
On December 15, 2020, the Federal Government declared that after December 30, 2020, all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked.
It later extended the December 30, 2020, deadline following widespread opposition against the earlier announcement and gave three weeks’ extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020, to January 19, 2021.
It also gave six weeks’ extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020, to February 9, 2021.
But many organisations called for a further deadline extension or outright suspension of the NIN registration process due to the large crowds who had yet to get their NINs.
On February 2, 2021, the government listened to the deadline extension call and shifted it to April 6, 2021.