As many commentators inside and outside Nigeria expected, the country’s federal government has approved the extension of the deadline for national identity number (NIN)-subscriber identity module (SIM) data verification to the end of this year.
The statement confirming this was made in the past few days by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), just in time for the previous deadline of 31 October to pass. The October deadline was itself the result of an extension that began at the end of July.
As we noted last week, this deadline extension is the seventh since NIN-SIM linkage was mandated in December 2020 with what was at the time seen as a very optimistic deadline of the end of that year.
The clamour to extend the deadline was led by both operators and end users – notably the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, whose president Adeolu Ogunbajo was vocal about the requirement to give the SIM verification process more time.
A statement from the NCC on its website says: “The extension would also provide the enabling environment for the registration of Nigerians in remote areas, diaspora, schools, hospitals [and] worship centres, as well as foreigners, diplomatic missions [and] those in other areas that were hitherto unreachable, and increase enrolments in countries with a significant number of Nigerians.”
The same website says that over 66 million unique NINs (each likely to be linked to three to four SIMs on average) have been issued, but that a significant part of the population is yet to be registered into the National Identity Database (NIDB).
Luckily there seems to be no shortage of ways to register. The NCC says: “As of October 30, 2021, there were over 9,500 enrolment systems and over 8,000 NIN enrolment centres within and outside the country.”