The Federal Government has extended the deadline for linking Subscriber Identification Modules (SIMs) with valid National Identity Numbers (NIN) by one month.

This was contained in a statement by spokesperson of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Kayode Adegoke.

He informed the deadline was extended from April 6, 2021 to May 6, 2021 after participants at the meeting of the Ministerial Task Force on NIN-SIM data linkage agreed to have an extension of the process.

The statement reads: “The meeting took place on Thursday, April 1, 2021 and approval was given to extend the period of the NIN-SIM linkage to the 6th of May, 2021.

“The request for the extension was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari and he endorsed it.”

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, chaired the meeting.
The statement also stated based on the updates of the NIN registration process, over 51 million people had been assigned NINs.

“There are many people who have enrolled and are in the process of being assigned NINs,” it stated.

The statement added: “With each individual having an average of three to four SIMs, the total number of SIMs tied to NINs would close to the total number of registered SIMs in the country.’’

It said the current number of monthly enrollments had increased significantly to about 2.6 million registrations.

Meanwhile, Nationalsketch.com had reported in March that Lagos Federal High Court has ordered extension of the deadline to link national identification number (NIN) with SIM by two months.

Justice Maureen Onyetenu ordered the extension while delivering a ruling in a suit filed by Human Rights lawyer and former vice-president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani.

In December 2020, Ubani filed a suit against the Federal Government, Attorney-General of the Federation, Nigerian Communications Commission, and Minister of Communication and Digital Economy over the initial deadline of December 30 2020 set for the NIN-SIM registration.

The human rights lawyer had argued the initial two-week — December 16 to December 30, 2020 — deadline issued by the federal government to telecommunication operators for NIN registration will infringe on the fundamental human rights of Nigerians and expose them to COVID-19.

“That the two weeks (16th December to 30th December 2020) ultimatum given to telecommunications operators by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards that are not registered with National Identity Number (NIN), is grossly inadequate and will not only work severe hardship,” the suit said.

“But will likely infringe on the fundamental rights of the Applicant (and millions of other Nigerians) to freedom of expression as guaranteed by section 39(1)(2) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as violate section 44(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which prohibits the compulsory acquisition of right or interest over moveable property.”

However, the Federal Government had extended the deadline to January 19, 2021 for subscribers with NIN to link it with their SIM, and February 9, 2021, for those without NIN, and now April 6.

Now, instead of two months extension as ordered by Federal High Court in Lagos, federal government only extended it with one month, till May 6.

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