The Federal Government has extended the deadline for millions of Nigerians unable to link their National Identity numbers (NINs) with Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards to February 9.
The initial deadline expired on January 19.
The mobile network operators (MNOs) said the Federal Government granted a further extension of the deadline to February 9 to allow subscribers yet to sync their SIMs with their NINs to do so.
They also promised to start enrolling citizens to National Identity Database (NIDB) of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ease the frustration, desperation and extortion of people by desiring to get enrolled and get their NINs by unscrupulous elements.
The MNOs, acting under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), in a statement, said it had received confirmation of the deadline extension from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The statement by ALTON Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, reads: “We have received formal confirmation from the NCC that President Muhammadu Buhari has graciously approved the extension of the deadline for subscribers with NIN to link it to their SIM registration data from January 19 to February 9, 2021.
“To ensure that we utilise the extension period judiciously, we urge all telecom subscribers who have a NIN to link it to their SIM cards through available channels as soon as possible. Those yet to enroll are advised to visit www.nimc.gov.ngfor a list of enrolment centres close to them.”
The NCC on Tuesday said only 47.8 million SIMs were successfully linked between December 16, 2020 and January 19, 2021.
With total active telephone lines currently standing at 208million, some 160.2million are yet to be linked while millions are yet to be enrolled into the NIDB in order to get their NINs.
Despite the licensing of some state governments, private business organisations, anti-graft agencies, non-governmental organisation (NGOs) and all the four MNOs to enroll people into the NIDB, crowds continue to surge at the few operation centres of NIMC.
President, Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Ikechukwu Nnamani, assured that all hands are on deck to ensure a successful SIM-NIN synchronization.
He said: “All efforts are being made to ensure that many citizens are registered as safely as possible. Equipment and infrastructure needed to register more people are being set up across the country and this will help increase the number of registered citizens. We are optimistic the project will be registered as a success when this completed.”