By Emma Okonji
As the January 19, 2021 deadline given by the federal government for the submission of subscribers’ National Identification Number (NIN) expired yesterday, telecoms operators have received a total of 47.8 million NINs from subscribers, even as submission of NINs has continued, the federal government has said.
The number of active telecoms subscribers across networks has reached over 204 million, with MTN leading with 75 million subscribers.
They are all expected to register, obtain NIN, and submit their NINs for integration with their SIM cards.
The federal government has also warned Nigerians against selling their SIM cards that are already linked with the NINs, disclosing that crimes committed with any SIM card would be traced for appropriate action.
It also expressed hopes that more NINs would be collected before the February 9, 2021 deadline.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, reminded Nigerians to secure and protect their NINs, urging subscribers to desist from selling their NINs or allowing others to use their NINs for registration.
Pantami gave the warning in a statement issued in Abuja by the Director Public, Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde.
“For any action committed with the SIM good or bad it will be officially traced and attached to the NIN owner,” the minister warned.
The statement further stated that at the end of a review meeting on January 18, 2021, the Technical Implementation Committee under the Ministerial Task Force reported significant progress in the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage exercise.
“So far a total of 47.8 million NINs have been collected by the mobile operators. At an average of three to four SIMs per subscriber, this means many millions will be linked up before the deadline in February 2021,” the NCC stated.
The federal government had declared that after December 30, 2020, all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked.
However, it later extended the December 30, 2020 deadline 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.
However, the minister yesterday expressed satisfaction with the commendable achievement.
He also expressed the federal government’s appreciation for the commitment demonstrated by all stakeholders and citizens and urged them to submit their NINs before February 9, 2021 deadline.
Pantami urged the technical team to fast-track the processes so that the project would be delivered very quickly.
With the level of compliance so far, NCC is of the view that NIN submission will continue after the initial deadline of January 19, 2021.