By Chinenye Anuforo and Benjamin Babine, Abuja
Mobile networks subscribers yesterday, were thrown into happy mood following the Federal Government’s announcement that the National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) integration exercise would be extended by eight weeks, to April 6, 2021.
Subscribers lauded the new development, saying it will give more people the opportunity to carry out the registration.
Specifically, the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Adeolu Ogunbanjo, commended the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy for the extension.
He said, “We are excited about the extension. At least it shows the Minister is now listening to us , unlike before. In fact, it is a very good development. Although, we wanted June 30, 2021 but its still okay. I think people will now have more time to register and by the end of the deadline, I know many subscribers must have keyed in.”
Ogunbanjo also commended the NCC for collaborating with his group, saying the Commission has been very supportive.
He urged subscribers to make good use of the extension period by ensuring they link their SIM and register for the NIN.
Mr. Emmanuel Jacobs, a subscriber to one of the networks also commended the government for extending the process even as he said government needs to do more.
He pointed out that most of the agents contracted by the government for the operation have not started registering. “ I read a report where most of the agents contracted by government said they were unable to start the registration process because of lack of funds to purchase the NIMC approved systems and some say they are waiting for the arrival of their devices to commence the registration. Can you imagine that? And the government is busy stipulating deadline. I think what the government should do first is to ensure that these people to which this contracts were given, start their work. They should try and know their problems and help them in resolving them”.
The President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Ike Nnamani, in his own part lauded government’s efforts to ensuring the subscribers enrolled in the process. He said, “I have said it that cutting of subscribers phone line will be the last resort as communication is very important. So, I commend the FG for this extension especially the Minister for listening to the public outcry for the extension of the process. It shows he listens”.
He also urged the subscribers to ensure they use this opportunity to register instead of waiting for the last week to the deadline to do that.
Corroborating this, Victor Ifeanyi, another subscriber also commended the FG for extending the process saying this will help for some subscribers not to be duped. He said, “This is good news to me. Imagine, I want to go and do my NIN registration with N3,500 because I cannot stand the cues at the centres. But, with this extension, I will not go to that place again and will keep trying the centres and I know before the eight weeks deadline, I will succeed”.
The Federal Government extended the ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) integration exercise by 8 weeks, with a new deadline of April 6, 2021.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director Public Affairs ,
Nigerian Communications Commission and Mr. Kayode Adegoke , Head, Corporate Communications,
Nigeria Identity Management Commission.
According to the statement, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami during the meeting of the Ministerial Taskforce on NIN-SIM registration which held February 1, 2021 announced the extension.
Pantami explained the extension is to give Nigerians and legal residents more time to integrate their NIN with the SIM.
It was reported that a total of 56.18 million NINs have been collected by the mobile network operators. Each NIN is usually tied to an average of 3 to 4 SIMs and this infers that the current figure accounts for a significant portion of the existing SIMs. This number of NINs collected represents a significant increase when compared with the 47.8 million reported by the Technical Committee on January 18, 2021.
Furthermore, over 1060 registration centres for NIN have been activated and made operational by NIMC across the country, while Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have opened hundreds of centres and are rapidly deploying resources to open thousands of other NIN enrolment centres across states of the country. “This is in line with the policy of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to enhance security and make the process of obtaining NINs easier for Nigerians”, Pantami said.
The CEOs of the Telcos and the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Organisation of Nigeria, Mr Gbenga Adebayo commended the Minister for his stellar leadership and commitment to the rapid development of the sector.
The Minister reiterated the need for Nigerians and legal residents who are yet to register for the NIN to be diligent and take advantage of the extension to enroll for their NIN and link with their SIMs.
It would be recalled that the February 4, 2020 was the initial date of the commencement of the National NIN-SIM Registration Policy.