19 February 2021
Nigeria is confident of meeting the newly-imposed February 9 deadline for the completion of the NIN (National Identity Number)-SIM card integration project, according to the country’s officials.
Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) told local media outlets that 47.8 million NINs have been collected by mobile operators.
“At an average of three to four SIMs per subscriber, this means many millions will be linked up before the deadline in February 2021,” Adinde said in a statement.
Officials said the NIN-SIM linkage project is looking positive, however the figures are not broken down by MNO.
In early January 2021, the NCC issued a statement, responding to speculation of the disconnection of lines. “Most of these publications are based on the erroneous assumption that for every network or SIM connection, there is one unique human subscriber,” it said. “However, with the advent of social media and app-driven digital environment, network subscription went beyond human subscribers to include machines like PoS, routers, Wi-Fi devices, electricity meters, CCTV, tracking devices etc.”
Officials have also commented on increasing the number of people at registration centres, for which authorities have been criticised for exposing them to Covid-19.
Isa Ali Pantami, Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, blamed the subscribers for “visiting in huge crowds without an invitation”.