The Federal Government said on Friday that it had issued 71 million National Identification Numbers, even as it extends the deadline for the NIN-Subscriber Identity Module data verification to March 31, 2022.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr Ike Adinde, and the Head of Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission, Mr Kayode Adegoke.
The statement was titled ‘NIN enrolments exceed 71 million as FG extends NIN-SIM verification to March 31, 2022’.
According to the agencies, the NIMC has issued over 71 million NINs with over 14,000 enrolment centres set up across the country so far.
They said, “Furthermore, the NIMC has also set up enrolment centres in over 31 countries to cater for Nigerians in the Diaspora.
“The unprecedented growth in the National Identity Database to over 71 million unique NINs in such a short period, with about three to four SIMs linked to a NIN, reflects the concerted effort of the Federal Government, the Nigerian populace and legal residents, and this is truly commendable.
“Following the request by stakeholders, including citizens, legal residents and Nigerians in the diaspora, the Federal Government has extended the deadline of the exercise to the 31st of March, 2022.”
The agencies said the extension would enable the Federal Government to consolidate the gains of the process and accelerate the enrolment of Nigerians in key areas like the remote areas, diaspora, schools, hospitals, worship centres, and the registration of legal residents.
A source in the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria had earlier told The PUNCH that only about 90 million subscribers had successfully linked their SIMs to their NINs.
According to the NCC, Nigeria had 229,582,206 connected SIM lines in October, out of which 191,618,839 were active.
At least 101 million active telecom users are yet to link their NINs to their SIMs.
The President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, said, “Yesterday (Thursday), someone called from the commission that the deadline may be extended. This shows that the Federal Government is listening.
“I think the Federal Government has done the meaningful, i.e. cross-checking with ALTON. Because obviously, not many people have done much and we are yet to achieve the 80–85 per cent inclusion mark.
“This shows they are also listening to the people in the underserved areas; there are 301 areas without Internet access. It means they have to travel to areas with Internet before they can get their SIM-NIN linkage sorted out.”