The Ali Pantami led Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy promised to bring about viable and sustainable changes in the communication and digital economy of Nigeria and one of those changes is capturing the data of every Nigerian into the national database. The country was thrown in a state of upheaval after it was announced that everyone had to link their SIM cards to their National Identity. Although believed to be a good idea, many decried this move by the ministry of communication and digital economy calling it a good cause with a bad timing. Irrespective of the complains and cries of Nigerians, the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country and the poor accessibility to NIN registration process, a deadline which was later extended to February 9th was set. People who failed or refused to abide by this were going to be disconnected from all SIM card powered services.
Although many people experienced difficulties in using their SIM cards and accessing some services across networks in the country, no sim card was blocked due to non-compliance of NIN registration. As February 9th drew closer, the agitations of those who hadn’t registered or linked their SIM to their NIN rose.
On the first of February 2021, Dr Ali Pantami in a meeting with the Ministerial taskforce on NIN-SIM registration, extended the deadline of February 9th by 8 weeks. According to him, this would give Nigerians the chance and more time to integrate their NIN with their sim cards as well as save them the troubles that would arise from sim blockage. A good decision, many people called it. According to reports, at total number of 56.18 million NINs have been linked to various sim cards and an average of three to four sim cards are linked to one NIN.
To deal with the high demand for registration, more NIMC centres have been activated and ensured operational across the country. Telecommunications companies have also been given the license to register Nigerians for NIN and this has started in specified telecommunications branches across the country. This embraces President Buhari’s policy to enhance security and to enable the NIN registration process made easy for Nigerians.
If you are yet to register for NIN or link your NIN with your SIM cards, the new deadline is April 6, 2021. You can also visit specified branches of the network you use to register for NIN as well as link it to your SIM cards.