Tijani: NIN-SIM Linkage Exercise Will Curb Insecurity, Help Government to Provide Digital Services 

Emma Okonji

The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani has called on Nigerians who have not been able to link all their mobile lines to their National Identification Number (NIN), and those whose SIM cards were barred from making and receiving calls, to exercise some patience and ensure full compliance of NIN registration and linkage for national security.

According to him, although the process of NIN registration and linkage has become very hectic, Nigerians must endure it and do the needful to enable government maintain high level security across the country.

The Minister who spoke with ARISE NEWS Channels, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers during the just concluded World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, Switzerland, said: “The process of NIN registration and linkage has turned out to be a painful exercise, but the benefits are numerous to the citizens and to the Nigerian economy. It will help government to provide digital services to the people, and it will offer citizens the opportunity to access such digital services that will be provided by government. It will also help government to maintain high level of security across the country. Government had since realised that most databases are in silos and operate independent of each other, but with the successful linkage of NIN with registered SIM cards, government will be able to provide a single database of all Nigerians, from where information could be easily accessed and processed in real time.”

According to him, the federal government is planning to establish the Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) , which will allow government to manage and share data.

“With the Digital Public Infrastructure, the Presidency and the Office of the National Security Adviser can sit in their offices and monitor in real time, what is going on around the country, with support from emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data Analytics and Internet of Things (I0Ts),” Tijani said.

Addressing the mission of the federal government to woo foreign investors that attended this year’s WEF event in Davos, to come to Nigeria and invest in the country’s broadband plan, which is targeted at attaining 70 per cent broadband penetration level by 2025 from its current 48 per cent penetration level, Tijani expressed his satisfaction over Nigeria’s broadband growth, adding that the spread of ubiquitous broadband across the country, will open vista of opportunities to build and deploy broadband infrastructure that will drive digital transformation across the country.

He explained that each state in Nigeria has over one thousand schools, with several hospitals that need broadband connectivity, adding that investment in Nigeria’s broadband plan would benefit both the investors and the Nigerian economy.

He said the federal government, working with the National Information Technology Development Agencies (NITDA), would leverage emerging technologies to bridge the digital skills gap that exists in Nigeria.

“NITDA, which is an agency of government, last year, conducted a talent gap analysis survey, where it looked at the number of digital skills developers in the country and across the globe and identified the key talent gap areas. NITDA decided to extend the survey to countries in Africa and outside of Africa, because the technology tools available for the survey of talent gap, addresses global concerns. The plan of government is to make Nigeria an exporter of digital talents in the near future,” the Minister said.

The federal government, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), had last year, gave orders to telecoms operators (Teicos) to commence full barring of all unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards on their networks that have not been linked to the NIN of the SIM card holder.

The NCC’s directive mandated telecoms operators to commence full barring before February this year.

Before now, operators were allowed to bar only outgoing calls for all unregistered and improperly registered SIM Cards that were not linked to NIN, thus allowing such SIM Cards to only receive calls without the ability to generate calls.

Chairman, Association of Licenced Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, who confirmed the directive from the NCC, had advised subscribers that were yet to register their SIM cards and were yet to link their SIM cards to their NIN, to do so, to avoid total disconnection.

In spite of government’s efforts to address the rising state of insecurity in the country through NIN-SIM registration and linkage, industry stakeholders have said the efforts to curb insecurity with NIN, appear not yielding results as insecurity has escalated beyond government’s control. 

Related Articles