43 Million NINs Awaiting NIMC Verification

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43 Million NINs Awaiting NIMC Verification
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

Telecommunication companies in Nigeria have forwarded at least 43 million National Identity Numbers, NINs, to the National Identity Management Commission for verification in order to have them linked with their respective Subscriber Identification Modules, SIMs.

Despite the duration of time given for telephone subscribers with NINs to link it with their SIMs elapsing today (January 19, 2021), service providers have said that SIMs with unlinked submitted NINs would not be blocked.

Reports say bout 45 million NINs have been provided by the NIMC, as it was able to register about two million people in the last one month after the Federal Government ordered citizens to register their SIMs with valid NINs, Punch reports.

African News Today had on December 15, 2020, that the Federal Government ordered telecom subscribers to register their NINs with SIMs or be blocked after December 30, 2020.

However, the deadline was extended following widespread reaction against the earlier deadline. The federal government gave a three weeks extension for subscribers with NIN from the initial December 30, 2020 to January 19, 2021.

It equally extended the deadline for subscribers without NIN to February 9, 2021, but several Nigerians are clamouring for further extension of the deadline due to the mammoth crowds that have beseeched registration centres but are yet to be registered.

It was gathered that about 43 million NINs had been submitted to the agency for verification.

Addressing the issue on behalf of telecom providers, the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, said the NINs were sent to NIMC for verification in order to ensure that the numbers were harmonised with their respective SIMs.

He said, “I don’t have the number of SIM cards that have been linked but at the last count, NIMC told us that they have about 43 million Nigerians who have NINs.

“So, we will be safe to assume that a large percentage of these citizens have delivered their NINs to the operators by way of dialing the USSD access code and/or visiting the operators’ websites and uploading their NINs on the websites.”

He added, “And by extension, I will be right to say that operators have delivered those NINs to NIMC. Now the second part of it, which is not in our control, is how many of these numbers uploaded by the operators and forwarded to NIMC have been harmonised?

“How many of them have been verified? That is not in our control, but as an industry, the large numbers we received from subscribers have since been delivered to NIMC.”

Responding to a question the possibility of government blocking the SIMs of subscribers who could not have their SIMs registered despite submitting their NINs to their service providers, the ALTON chairman said such SIMs would not be blocked.

He said, “If you already have your NIN and you have delivered the number to your service provider and it has been acknowledged and forwarded to NIMC, I don’t think the penalty will be there for you as from tomorrow (Tuesday) if your SIM has not been registered with the NIN.

“This is because as far as you are concerned as a subscriber, you have uploaded that number to your operator and forwarded to NIMC.

“Now the further interrogation of that means that you are not supposed to be penalised because you have done what you are required to do to your service provider and to NIMC.”

Adebayo said the penalty would be mainly for those who do not have the NIN and who were unable to deliver their NINs to their service providers.

“So those in the problem category are those who do not have the NIN and who have not delivered the NIN to their service providers by tomorrow (Tuesday).

“Therefore, if you as a subscriber have submitted your NIN to your service provider and this has been forwarded to NIMC, at this stage I am not aware of any penalty for you.”

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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