About 43 million National Identity Numbers (NIN) in Nigeria have been submitted by telecommunication companies to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for verification in order to have them registered with their respective Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM).
Also, as the deadline for telephone subscribers with NINs to register their SIMs with the identity numbers elapsed today, operators have said that SIMs with unlinked submitted NINs will not be blocked.
It was also gathered that so far that the NIMC has been able to provide about 45 million NINs, as it was able to register about two million people in the last one month after the Federal Government ordered citizens to register their SIMs with valid NINs.
On December 15, 2020, the Federal Government declared that after December 30, 2020, all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked.
It extended the December 30, 2020 deadline following widespread opposition against the earlier announcement and gave three weeks’ extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020 to January 19, 2021.
It also gave six weeks’ extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020 to February 9, 2021, however, many organisations have called for further deadline extension or outright suspension of the NIN registration process due to the large crowds who had yet to have their NINs.
Although the NIMC refused to speak on the matter after several calls and messages were sent to senior officials of the commission on the subject, operators in the telecommunications sector told confirmed that about 43 million NINs had been submitted to the agency for verification.
Speaking on behalf of the firms, the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, said the NINs were sent to NIMC for verification in order to ensure that the numbers were harmonised with their respective SIMs.
He said, “I don’t have the number of SIM cards that have been linked but at the last count, NIMC told us that they have about 43 million Nigerians who have NINs.
When asked if the government would block the SIMs of subscribers who could not have their SIMs registered despite submitting their NINs to their service providers, Adebayo said such SIMs would not be blocked.
He said “this is because as far as you are concerned as a subscriber, you have uploaded that number to your operator and forwarded to NIMC.
However, the Director-General, NIMC, Aliya Aziz, as well as the spokesperson for the commission, Kayode Adegoke, did not pick several calls to their lines nor did they reply messages sent to them on the matter.
Also, when contacted on whether there would be an extension of the January 19 deadline, the media aide to the communications minister, Uwa Suleiman, affirmed negatively.
However, She stated that if there was such information, the communications ministry or any of its relevant agencies will publicise it.