The NIN-SIM linkage has been quite a controversial topic since it was introduced late last year by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The NIN-SIM linkage became a requirement for Nigerians to be able to use their SIM cards and its associated services. After the announcement, a two-week period was given to people to get their NINs and link it to their SIM cards. This, of course caused a lot of uproar and Nigerians took to social media to express their displeasure about the NIN-SIM linkage. People were concerned the short time period given coupled with the fact that the coronavirus disease was still raging and social distancing was required to reduce the spread of the disease.
Considering the obvious factors and no system in place to accommodate the exercise, it was extended to February. This was to enable people have more time to get their NIN and avoid them getting blocked from their SIM-related services. The Federal Government also opened new registration centres to accommodate the registration of more Nigerians and reduce the crowd at registration centres. The Federal Government also made it known that those who failed to get their NINs and link it to their SIMs would get barred from their SIM-related services. February was then the date that decided the fate of many Nigerians in relation to their SIM services.
The Federal Government, however, extended the date to April 6th. The Federal Government has also extended this date by a month to May 6th. The approval to extend the date to May 6th was given at a Ministerial Task Force meeting that held last Thursday in Abuja. According to what the statement about the extension said, more than 51 million Nigerians now have their NINs. The statement also made it known that there has been a significant increase in the amount of people that register for NIN month on month.
Specifically the statement said, “Based on the updates of the NIN registration process, over 51 million people have been assigned NINs. There are many people who have enrolled and are in the process of being in the process of being assigned NINs. With each individual having an average of three to four SIMs, the total number of SIMs tied to NINs would be close to the total number of registered SIMs in the country. The current number of monthly enrolments has increased significantly to about 2.6 million registrations. There has also been a remarkable increase in the number of enrolment centres across the country with about 3,800 centres available for enrolment. There are also many more new centres in the pipeline”.
The extension therefore gives Nigerians more time to get their NINs and link it to their SIMs.