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FG Extends NIN-SIM Card Linking Exercise

Tunbosun Oyinloye

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has extended the registration period for the NIN-SIM card linking exercise initially slated for December 30, to February 9, 2021.

The agency approved three weeks extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020, to January 19, 2021.

FG moved the deadline from December 30, 2020, to February 9, 2021, for subscribers without NIN.

Similarly, the temporary cancellation of N20 USSD and verification fees have also been extended too.

This information was disclosed by the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy (FMCDE) in a press statement released earlier today.

According to the statement, the latest resolution follows a meeting held by the Task Force on National Identification Number (NIN) and SIM registration.

The meeting chaired by the  Minister of FMCDE, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, also had other key stakeholders in attendance.

Prominent among them include the NCC Chairman, Prof. Umar Dambatta, EVC-NCC, DG-NITDA, and DG-NIMC, among others.

Key resolutions from the stakeholders meeting

After hours of deliberation, the following resolutions as backed by the Federal Government were made at the stakeholders meeting today:

  1. Three (3) weeks extension for subscribers with NIN from  December 30, 2020, to  January 19, 2021.
  2. Six (6) weeks extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020, to February 9, 2021.
  3. NIMC has provided strategies to enable citizens to attend the registration in full compliance with COVID-19 protocols. The use of facemasks remains mandatory, the same as strict compliance of social distancing.
  4. USSD and verification charges remain suspended during the period of extension.

Current update on the NIN-SIM card linking exercise

The past couple of days have witnessed a series of unfolding directives from various stakeholders to ensure strict compliance for the NIN-SIM card linking exercise.

Techuncode earlier reported that NCC ordered the disconnection of all SIM cards that are not registered with NIN.

Subsequently, NIMC further extends enrollment exercise to include Saturdays, which ordinarily should be a day-off for public workers.

The directive, according to NIMC, is another way of making the exercise seamless for all mobile subscribers while reducing the likelihood of having large clusters at service centres.

ALSO READMTN Creates Portal For NIN, SIM Card Linking

This exercise cuts across all network operators including MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile; and it is expected to last through the now extended duration.

That aside, some network providers, including MTN and Airtel, have tried to ease the process by creating dedicated channels for subscribers to link their SIM cards with their NINs.

For MTN, a dedicated portal was created for subscribers to link their NINs with their SIM details.

Alternatively, subscribers can also carry out the exercise by simply dialling *785# and following the provided instruction.

Airtel also made a provision for USSD code – *121*1# through which subscribers can carry out the exercise.

GLO responded to the current need with a different approach.

As opposed to using USSD codes which have become a new trend, the network opted for the medieval process of sending text commands.  

According to GLO’s announcement on social media, customers can link their NINs by taking this step; 

Send “UpdateNIN [space] NIN [space] First name [space] Last name” to 109. 

On the other hand, 9mobile is yet to provide its customers with a registration model of its own.

However, on Wednesday, they released a code (*346*) with which customers could verify their NIN status.

Comments from Nigerians

While the extension of the NIN-SIM card linking exercise is a laudable one, some Nigerians still feel that an online registration could have saved much of the stress.

Below are mixed reactions from Nigerians on Twitter:

Oyinloye Bosun is a writer at Techuncode. Although not a gadget freak, he has a keen interest in familiarizing himself with every technology product - software or hardware. He also loves to arm himself with the knowledge of tech activities/events taking place both on the Local and International scenes. The provision of the above has pushed him to choose writing as a profession. Wondering if he has a hubby? Yes! He loves streaming tech-related podcasts in his spare time.

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