The Federal Government of Nigeria, has backed down from its threat to enforce deregistration of phone users in the country who fails to link their Sims to their NIN. This is coming after pressures from Nigerians with the Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers of Nigeria (ATCIS) pioneering several protests call for the extension of the exercise beyond the deadline date of December 31, 2021.
The government had come up with the mandatory NIN-SIM linkage exercise on December 9, 2020, with a deadline of December 31st, 2021 for all subscribers to comply or get blocked from the networks. It has, however, extended the deadline several times since then. Announcing the latest extension in a statement jointly signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, and the Head of Corporate Communications of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Mr. Kayode Adegoke, the government said the extension followed requests by stakeholders.
In a statement while addressing Press men in Abuja after the meeting, president of ATCIS, Hon Sina Bilesanmi tagged the decision of the Federal Government as a welcome development. According to Sina, “our association demanded for more extension simply because out of almost 191 million Subscribers, record shows that less than 70 million Subscribers have linked their NIN- SIM, in these case what happen to the remaining Subscribers? More so, NIMC are not making progress of what they promised us as a citizens, we want Federal Government to look at it.”
The Federal Government of Nigeria has therefore extended the deadline for the subscribers to link their SIMs with their National Identification Number (NIN) to March 31st, 2022.This came as the earlier deadline expires today, December 31st, 20201.
In a goodwill message to all Nigerian subscribers to commemorate the celebration of the festive season and the new year 2022, Bilesanmi disclosed that “in our pursuit towards ensuring the all Nigerian subscribers are properly carried along, ATCIS has made over 730 newspaper press released publications, both local and international as well as online news publications, Radio and National Television Station Interviews with about 230 Success achievements so far to the benefit of Subscribers across the country. ATCIS want it to be on record of history that our association has spent about #450 million naira since 2014 till 31st December 2021, which has been on self -sponsored by members without government agencies in Nigeria.”
It added that the stakeholders have also applauds the Federal Government on the significant growth in the number of NIN enrolments and the increased drive to enlighten Nigerian Subscribers and legal residents across the country. “As of 30th December 2021, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has issued over seventy-one million (71million) NINs with over fourteen-thousand (14,000) enrolment centers set up across the country”.
“The Honourable Minister has, however, implored ATCIS – the subscriber’s body and legal residents to enroll for their NINs and link with their SIMs during this period of extension as more services will be requiring the NIN for identification. He also reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to support the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in ensuring that the objectives of the exercise are achieved.
ATCIS president Bilesanmi however implored all phone subscribers who are yet to link their NIN to their SIMS to seize the opportunity of the extension to do so right away to avoid being excommunicated from their various services. He assured that the body ATCIS would continue to provide details as events unfolds through their websites and contacts www.atcisnigeria.com, and 07052713300.He said, “we urge telephone Subscriber’s citizen and legal residents that are yet to complete the process of enrolment, verification, and SIM linkage on or before 31st March 2022 and else fort Subscribers should be careful with their phone because any crime committed on your phone, you will be responsible for it.”