By Ismail Auwal
The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has commended Nigerians and Legal Residents for their support during the exercise to link National Identification Number (NIN) to the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM).
Pantami noted that as of date, over 125 Million SIMs have had their NINs submitted for immediate linkage, verification and authentication. Similarly, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has issued over 78 Million unique NINs till date.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive for the implementation and commencement of the exercise in December 2020, as part of the administration’s security and social policies. The deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage has been extended on multiple occasions to allow Nigerians to freely comply with the Policy.
The FG also took into consideration the passionate appeals by several bodies – Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Civil Societies, Professional Bodies and a host of others – for the extension of the deadlines in the past.
Accordingly, President Buhari graciously approved the many requests to extend deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage. At this point however, Government has determined that the NIN-SIM Policy implementation can proceed, as machinery has already been put in place to ensure compliance by citizens and legal residents. The implementation impacts on Government’s strategic planning, particularly in the areas of security and socio-economic projections.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the implementation of the Policy with effect from the 4th of April, 2022. Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all Telcos to strictly enforce the Policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria. Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage Policy from the 4th of April, 2022. Subscribers of such lines are hereby advised to link their SIMs to their NINs before the Telcos can lift the restriction on their lines. Affected individuals are hereby advised to register for their NINs at designated centers and thereafter link the NINs to their SIMs through the channels provided by NIMC and the Telcos, including the NIMC mobile App” a statement jointly issued by NIMC and NCC stated.
Professor Pantami specially appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for his tremendous support. He also commended the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Dambatta, the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Azeez Abubakar along with their Management and Staff, as well as other notable bodies whose efforts have seen to the monumental success of the exercise. The Minister also extends his thanks to the telecommunication operators for their support towards the success recorded.
The Honourable Minister also emphasized that enrolment for the NIN was a continuous exercise and NIN remained a precondition for service in Telcos, banks, Nigerian Immigration Service, and for several other government services. He also encouraged Nigerians and legal residents to visit NIN registration centers for the enrollment and issuance of valid NINs.