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Nigerians want SIM-NIN digital ID link deadline extended again

Nigerians want SIM-NIN digital ID link deadline extended again

Mobile telecommunications service users are calling on the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to extend the deadline for linking SIM cards with users’ biometric digital ID (NIN).

According to some local media reports, the users say an extension is necessary given that agents of mobile telecoms providers have either been unable to collect complete registration information from SIM registrants, or they have put forth complaints of difficulties uploading data collected unto the servers of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

For the ongoing phase of the SIM-NIN linkage, the deadline is March 29 and there are fears that millions of SIM cards not properly registered could be suspended, Punch reports.

There are no clear indications that the deadline will be extended but the outlet quotes an NCC official, Reuben Mouka, as stating that the earlier directive given by the Authority regarding the exercise have not changed.

Already, over 40 million phone lines are said to have been blocked when the deadline for the first phase of the exercise elapsed on February 28.

The subscribers are making their plea for an extension of the deadline under the aegis of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), according to Punch, which quotes Adeolu Ogunbanjo, the association’s president, as explaining the difficulties faced by subscribers.

As the deadline for the current phase winds down tomorrow, another phase of the SIM-NIN linkage exercise is scheduled to begin on April 15 and it concerns users with four or SIM or less, and whose NINs have not been verified as being linked to the said SIM cards.

Recently, the NCC and NIMC formed a collaboration to enhance the SIM-NIN linkage process. In a statement issued on March 17, the NCC said its partnership with the ID authority is to “explore synergies and leverage each other’s expertise and resources” in four key areas namely streamlining the process, capacity building and public awareness, data verification and validation and policy harmonization and regulatory framework.

Nigeria launched the operation to link SIM cards with the NIN in December 2020, with officials saying the move is part of government efforts to check the growing spate of criminality in the country. This is however not working yet as crimes such as kidnapping remain on a steady rise in the country.

About 50 million NINs, since then, are said to have been issued thanks to the campaign nonetheless.

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