The Federal government on Tuesday, June 29th, extended the earlier deadline of June 30th, as the commencement date for the disconnection of network subscribers who were yet to link their SIM cards to their National Identity Number (NIN) to July 29, to enable more subscribers to comply with the directive. It could be recalled that the Federal government, through the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), had declared June 30th as the deadline for Nigerians who are yet to link their SIM card to their NIN.
The approval of a new date by the federal government came on Tuesday, in reaction to calls from stakeholders within the telecommunication subsector, for an extension of the earlier scheduled deadline to consolidate the enrollment-verification process, following an upsurge in the number of Nigerians who were beginning to enroll in the system.
According to a joint statement issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and its sister agency, the National Identity Management Commission, “There has been an increase in the number of enrollment centers across the country, from just 800 in December 2020 to over 5,000 centers in 2021. Thus, there is a projected increase in the number of people enrolled, going by the simplified enrollment process at the enrollment centers nationwide.
Nigerians have been hesitant to get their SIM cards verified and enrolled on the NIMC enrollment system mainly because of widespread complaints and reported cases of long queues at enrollment centers witnessed across different centers nationwide occasioned by undue delays resulting from the rigorous nature of the enrollment process.
This led to numerous extensions, the most recent extension is the fifth the federal government has issuing, since the commencement of the enrollment exercise last December.
According to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), enrollment has been relatively slow. Only 57.3 million Nigerians have since been captured in the system, a hugely far cry from the over 200 million mobile network users in the country who have 3-4 SIM cards.
The Commission further disclosed that while millions of mobile subscribers are yet to enroll, an estimated 170 million mobile subscribers have linked their SIM cards to their NINs. Also, statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) revealed that the country has about 188 million mobile subscribers.
Experts say that while governments’ efforts at getting every Nigerian enrolled on the system is laudable, however, it does not rule out the fact that more Nigerians won’t be captured simply because they don’t have access to cellphones-SIM cards.
Nigeria’s a country of over 200 million people, for which more than 105.8 million of that population are adults. It means that almost 50% of the country’s adult population has yet to get a NIN. Thus this strategy may result in inaccurate data as the enrollment exercise only focuses on mobile phone users, with no recourse to other Nigerians who may not have access to cell phones.
Thus with the new extension date, the federal government is optimistic that more Nigerians, who are yet to enroll in the system, will take advantage of the new deadline and availability of more enrollment centres nationwide to verify and link their SIM cards to their NINs to avoid being disconnected by network providers, come July 29th.
Although the process may be a little hectic-not so rigorous- like it was when the enrollment exercise began in December 2020, we at Africbase urges you to get yourself enrolled to avoid disconnection and, of course, not to debt yourself the opportunity to continue to access the internet, and to enjoy all the news stories and more that we furnish you with on this platform.
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