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Nigerian digital ID registrations reach 66M, SIM linkage deadline extended

Nigerian digital ID registrations reach 66M, SIM linkage deadline extended

Nigeria’s federal government says at least 66 million citizens and legal residents have now completed the enrollment of their biometrics and been issued the national identification number (NIN).

These figures were disclosed recently in a statement announcing a new deadline extension for the process to have all SIM cards linked to the digital ID number of their owners, according to The Nation.

Nigeria first made the call for SIMs to be linked to NINs in mid-December 2020, and this latest deadline extension is the seventh since then.

In an update on the country’s digital ID progress during an ID4Africa Livecast in September, NIMC Director General Aliyu Aziz reported that NIN registrations had reached 63 million.

Nigerians now have till 31 December, 2021 to complete the SIM-NIN integration process, according to the recent statement, signed on behalf of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy by the director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, and the head of Corporate Communications of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Kayode Adegoke.

“The review of the progress of the exercise indicated that over 66 million unique National Identity Numbers (NIN) have been issued — an indication of progress achieved in the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage. However, a significant part of the populace is yet to be registered into the National Identity Database (NIDB), which may be due to some challenges which the Federal Government has looked into and has made efforts to alleviate, hence the need to extend the deadline,” a portion of the statement read.

The extension has been authorized by President Muhammadu Buhari in order to allow more Nigerians, especially those living in remote areas and others in the diaspora, the opportunity to register for the digital ID.

“The administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has graciously approved the extension to accommodate the yearnings of the populace and make it easier for its citizens within and outside the country, and legal residents to obtain the NIN and link it with their SIM,” reads the statement, adding that the extension was also a response to calls from “Mobile Network Operators and other industry stakeholders, soliciting for a further extension to ensure better compliance with government’s directive and to avoid widening the digital divide.”

The joint statement added that while the federal government is ready to continue providing the necessary assistance to have law-abiding citizens registered for the NIN, Nigerians have been enjoined to “… make use of the opportunity of the extension to enroll for their NINs and link them with their SIMs.”

“The unique 66 million NIN enrolments, with an average of 3 to 4 SIMs linked to the NIN, is a testament to the commitment and dedication of the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Communications Commission…and the National Identity Management Commission… to ensure the success of the project,” the statement noted.

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