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FG stresses February 9 deadline as telcos collect 47.8m NINs

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[FILE] Applicants wait to obtain national identity numbers at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) office, in the Lagos state capital of Ikeja, on December 30, 2020. – Nigerians have appealed to the government for further extension of deadline for the blocking of mobile SIM cards without national identity numbers as millions of subscribers are yet to obtain their identity numbers. Following the surge to meet the deadline by millions of unregistered subscribers, the Nigerian Communications Commission announced last week of an extention untill February 9, to block mobile SIM cards of citizens without national identity numbers, while subscribers that have obtained their identity numbers have until January 19, 2021 to link their mobile SIM cards with their national identity numbers. Nigeria has given a deadline for telecoms operators to register mobile phone users, amid concerns that unregistered SIM cards are being used by criminals and insurgents, the government said. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)


• Minister lauds subscribers, NIMC continues verification

The Federal Government has commended Nigerians for their perseverance in the ongoing National Identification Number (NIN)-Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card enrolment, verification and linkage, which began last month. It urged subscribers not to relent as the February 9 deadline approaches.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in a statement by its Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said a January 18, 2021review meeting of the Technical Implementation Committee under the Ministerial Task Force acknowledged significant progress in the exercise.

The spokesman disclosed that 47.8 million NINs had been collected by the mobile operators. According to him, at an average of three to four SIMs per subscriber, more millions would be linked up before the closing date.

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Lauding the development, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, implored Nigerians to remain patriotic with the project in the days leading to the deadline. He charged the technical team to fast-track the process for timely delivery.

The committee drew attention to the government application that allows subscribers to link up as high as seven SIMs to their NINs. Pantami advised the citizens to protect their special digits and desist from selling or exchanging them for money.

“For any action committed with the SIM, good or bad, it will be officially traced and attached to the NIN owner,” he warned. The Guardian learnt that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) had begun verification of NINs for subsequent linking with individual SIM cards.

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Government had on December 15, 2020 declared that after December 30, 2020, all unlinked SIMs would be blocked. Following widespread opposition, it extended the exercise by three weeks to January 19, 2021 before announcing another 21-day grace till February 9.

Some customers, who took to social media to express their reservations, sought further extension. They complained that those that have submitted their NINs were yet to get confirmations.

Tunde Agaba @TAgaba, said: “I have submitted my NIN to my network operator, Glo, for verification, going to two weeks now! No confirmation yet from them. How do we handle that@DrIsaPantami.”

Another user, Savagenation @Savagenation wrote: “@nimc_ng, please you guys should attend to people that have submitted their NINs to you. Many people have sent you guys their NINs and they have not yet been attended to. Why? Work on them, please.”

The NIMC has, again, stressed that BVN-generated NINs must be confirmed at his offices. The Head of Corporate Communications, Kayode Adegoke, made the clarification, stating: “Subscribers, who fall in this category, will still need to visit the NIMC for biometric capturing, data checks and other updates.”

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