The federal government has approved a last-minute window for Nigerians to link their National Identification Number to their SIM cards.
The Nigerian Communications Commission made the development public in a statement titled, “FG urges Citizens to Link NIN to SIM without Delay.”
The Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy introduced the NIN-SIM linkage back in December 2020 with an initial deadline of December 30, 2020.
The government extended the deadline by three weeks to January 19, for subscribers that already have NIN.
For those that did not have NIN, the government shifted it by six weeks to February 9 and subsequently April 9, 2021, June 30, 2021, July 26, 30th December 2021, and March 30, 2022.
Following the expiration of the March 31 deadline, the regulator said that SIM cards not linked to a NIN will be disconnected after the window closes.
The NNC said,
“In preparation for the enforcement, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) urges citizens and legal residents to use the next few days to ensure that they complete the linkage.
“To this end, the Honourable Minister has further directed that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) should offer enrolment services round-the-clock for the next few days. Prof Pantami also thanks all those who have completed their NIN-SIM linkage.
“On behalf of the Honourable Minister, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, and the Director-General/CEO of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu Aziz urges citizens and legal residents to take advantage of the window to complete the process of enrolment and verification within the next few days.”
In December 2021, the National Identity Database received over 71 million unique NINs, according to the National Identity Management Commission.
The latest statistics report of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Nigeria has over 198.1 million active SIMs as of February 2022.
In the case where there is no extension of the deadline after the window, about 127 million active SIMs may be disconnected based on the directive of the government.