Nigerian Government has announced the extension of the ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) integration exercise by eight weeks to April 6.
In a bid to ensure telecoms subscribers are not deactivated, the ongoing National has been extended to April 6- eight weeks.
Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), who disclosed this on Tuesday, said the extension was conveyed by Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.
Adinde said Pantami conveyed the message during the meeting of the Ministerial Taskforce on NIN-SIM registration which held on Monday, Feb. 1.
The extension is to give people that have not linked their NIN and Sim card time to do so.
Pantami encouraged Nigerians to take advantage of the extension to fully participate in the process and follow the safety guidelines at all the NIN enrolment centres.
Nigeria is facing insecurity challenges – insurgency in the north, kidnapping and cattle rustling, as well as clash by herders and farmers in many parts of the country.
The Nigerian Government had in Dec. 2020 ordered citizens to have their phone numbers synchronised with their NINs in a matter of weeks or risk having their lines cut-off—a move the government defended as necessary for checkmating security challenges linked with volatile communication services.
The NIN could be used for tracking criminal records of individuals.
The NCC had said more controls over SIM-card ownership were needed to secure electronic transactions and curb crime as insecurity bites harder in the country. The Boko Haram insurgency has been said to have been reinforced by the volatile telecom services.
Following the government directive, millions of Nigerians have been scrambling to beat the February 9 deadline for acquiring their NIN.
The government had in Dec. 2020 announced the extension of the registration exercise to Jan. 19 and Feb. 9, 2021, for those with existing NIN and those who do not have it.
The extension was due to the overcrowding of NIN registration by subscribers at centres which resulted in violations of COVID-19 protocols.
The exercise was initially disrupted by a strike embarked on workers of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) on Jan. 7, due to lack of adequate measure and safety materials for staff at the enrollment centres.
HumAngle reported that Asekohai Lucky, Chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), NIMC unit, ordered members of the union to go on an indefinite strike as a result of staff contracting COVID-19 while on duty.
In a communiqué, the association ordered all members on grade level 12 and below to report to respective duty posts and “do nothing”. The strike lasted for two days after the management of NIMC said it has met with the requests of the striking workers.