At least 20.4 million Nigerians risk being disconnected from telecommunication services if the Federal Government implements the National Identification Number (NIN)–Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) policy, which has expired on the 31st of March 2022.
According to the Federal Government, subscribers now have a couple of days to link their SIMs to NINs before it begins to enforce the policy.
In an issued press statement signed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)’s Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde; and the Head, Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission, (NIMC), Kayode Adegoke, said the Federal Government had disclosed on Thursday that it was set to enforce the SIM-NIN policy as the March 31, 2022, deadline for the exercise expired.
The statement read in part: “The general public would recall that the Federal Government approved an extension of the NIN-SIM linkage deadline to the 31st of March, 2022.
“In preparation for the enforcement, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, urges citizens and legal residents to use the next few days to ensure that they complete the linkage.
“To this end, the Minister has further directed that NIMC should offer enrolment services round-the-clock for the next few days”.
In preparation for this, NIMC announced that its enrollment centres would be operational this weekend. It said, “This is to notify the general public that all NIN enrolment centres nationwide will be operational over the weekend.
“This is to enable those yet to obtain the NIN to do so within the timeframe given by the federal government before enforcement of the NIN-SIM linkage commences.
“77.1 million unique NINs have been issued by the NIMC as of March 21, 2022, according to data obtained from the agency’s website”.
There were 97.5 million unique mobile subscribers in Nigeria as of September 2018, according to the GSMA, the global organisation representing telecom operators worldwide.
Nigeria is projected to have 130 million unique subscribers by 2025. The NCC said there were 197,768,482 active telecom subscribers in February 2022.