The Federal Government of Nigeria has extended the May 9 deadline for Nigerian mobile subscribers to link their National Identity Numbers (NINs) to their SIM cards. This announcement marks the fourth time the government has adjusted the NIN registration deadline since the first call on December 30, 2020. 

The country’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami and other industry stakeholders held a virtual meeting and concluded that an additional 8-week extension will give Nigerians more time to get their NIN and complete supplementary data verification processes. 

Since the first call for registration, a significant amount of progress has been made. An estimated 54 million Nigerians have obtained their NINs. When you do the math, 54 million registrants translate to about 190 million mobile numbers with linked NINs. This is deduced from the empirical data that suggest that each unique NIN maps three to four phone numbers.  

A statement by the NIMC reveals that moving forward,  an “android enrollment system” will be deployed to improve the speed and ease of enrollment. Furthermore, the NIMC says that telecommunication providers and other registration agents have opened centres across the country to aid the process as well. 

Until recently, the NIN registration process put the sale of new SIM cards by telcos on hold, allowing Nigeria’s federal government to carry out a comprehensive audit of the Subscriber Registration Database. However, the government has since lifted the ban on new sim registration on the condition that new subscribers have their NIN. 

The June 30th deadline gives unregistered mobile subscribers some breathing room, but it’s unlikely that a majority of them will complete their registration before the newly announced revised date. 

Bright Azuh | Author

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