The deadline for linking the national identity numbers to SIM cards in Nigeria has been shifted again.
The deadline, which was to come into effect on Sunday, has now been extended by three months to October 31.
The decision to extend the deadline was made following a request by stakeholders to accommodate registration in hard-to-reach remote areas, foreigners and diplomatic missions, diaspora and address low enrolments in schools and hospitals, as evidenced by enrolment statistics.
It also followed a review of the progress of the exercise which indicated significant progress hence the need to consolidate the gains of the enrolment and NIN-SIM verification process across the country.
A statement signed by both the Director of Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ike Adinde and Head of Corporate Communications, NIMC, Kayode Adegoke on Sunday, disclosed that as of July 24th, there are over 5,500 enrolment systems within and outside the country and this would significantly ease the NIN enrolment process and subsequent linkage of NIN to SIM.
The statement noted that the administration that the Nigerian government approved the extension as part of efforts to make it easier for its citizens within and outside the country, and legal residents to obtain the NIN and it is important to take advantage of the extension.
The NIN-SIM linkage also makes it easier for the security agencies to carry out their statutory duties and the relevant parastatals under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy are supporting them as required.
They explained in the statement that there are now a total of 59.8 million unique NIN enrolments, with an average of three to four SIMs per NIN.
With the great number of enrolment centres within and outside the country, and many more coming up, every citizen, legal residents and Nigerians living in the diaspora should be able to obtain their NINs.
According to the statement, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on behalf of the Federal Government commends the Kano State government and other states that have made NINs a key requirement for school enrolments and access to other important services.
It was also noted that the use of NIN in the process of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) exam significantly reduced instances of exam malpractice.
Nigerian Communications Commission boss Prof Umar Garba Dambatta, and the director-general and CEO of the National Identity Management Commission, Engr Aliyu Azeez, urged citizens and legal residents to make sure they use the opportunity to complete the process of enrolment and verification before the October 31st deadline.