Despite the multiple extensions spanning over one year, many telecoms subscribers are yet to key into the mandatory NIN-SIM linkage exercise, New Telegraph has learnt. This is even as subscribers expressed frustration over the process of obtaining the National Identification Number.
Government came up with the mandatory NIN-SIM linkage exercise on December 9, 2020, with a deadline of December 31, 2020 for all subscribers to comply or get blocked from the networks. It has, however, extended the deadline several times since then, the latest being from December 31, 2021 to March 31, 2022. However, for some subscribers that spoke with our correspondents, the fact that government has been extending the deadlines for several months now is an indication that the exercise may not end. For this reason, they have become apathetic to the directive.
For Mrs Yemisi Akinsola, though she is aware of the deadline and the implications of not linking her SIM with NIN, her work schedule and the usual long queue at NIN registration points have been discouraging her. She said: “I am always too busy to go and wait for a long queue just to get it done.” Also, Oni Emmanuel, a student, said he had not linked his SIM because he believes the exercise will be continuous. For him, government would keep postponing the deadline, thus no line would be blocked. “If the worst happens, I will find another means to get and register a new SIM,” he said.
Another young Nigerian, Taoreed Lawal, said he had not been able to get it done because he does not have money to pay. According to him, most centres are demanding money for the registration. Meanwhile, some subscribers who have the NIN are still finding it difficult to link it with their SIMs. According to them, several attempts at linking through the codes provided by the network operators have failed. Asked if they have tried linking through the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) app, many said they were not aware of it. The NIMC app makes it easier to link NIN with multiple SIMs and it gives a clear picture of the identity card.
The app can also be used to perform other activities relating to NIMC. Another subscriber, Miss Adetulubo Funmilayo, said she gave up trying to link her two numbers after trying to do so several times to no avail. “I have tried linking my two SIMs several times, but it wasn’t successful, so I left it,” she said. For Yekini Ayobami, she has registered her NIN, but she felt linking it up with her numbers would be a long process and that has discouraged her. “I have registered, but I haven’t linked my lines,” she said. Similarly, Safiyah Ayodele said she had her NIN, but has not been able to get it linked with her SIM as it has been under confirmation since she tried to.
It was, however, a different case entirely for Chinedu Uwadia, who thought that having obtained NIN, it has been automatically linked with his SIM. “I don’t know that I need to do anything to link my SIM after getting the NIN. They should have done it for me now,” he said. Announcing the shifting of the deadline to March 31, the Federal Government had disclosed that over 71 million unique NINs have been issued as of December 30, 2021. It added that the extension would enable it to consolidate the gains of the process and accelerate the enrolment of Nigerians in key areas like the remote areas, the Diaspora, schools, hospitals, worship centres and the registration of legal residents. “Furthermore, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has also set up enrolment centres in over thirty-one (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,” government stated. The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, however, implored Nigerians and legal residents to enroll for their NINs and link with their SIMs during this period of extension as more services will be requiring 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.