By Francis Ogwo
About 21 million telephone subscribers are without National Identification Number (NIN) even as the deadline for the registration of Subscriber Identification Modules (SIMs) with valid NIN fast approaches.
This is with an observation by the telcos that about 143 million SIMs are now identifiable to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for registration with their respective NINs.
The disclosure as reported by Nairametrics was made by the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, while speaking on behalf of the telecom operators.
Adebayo while reacting to the Federal Government’s disclosure that 47.8 million NINs have so far been collected by telecom operators.
He said, “We collected 47.8 million NINs at an average of three to four SIM cards per person or enrollee.
“So, on a further average we have about 3.5 SIMs per person and when multiplied by 47.8 million, that is about 167 million. Now if we take a lower rate, say an average of three SIM cards per person, it is about 143 million SIM cards.”
“Therefore what this means is that about 143 million SIM cards now have their NINs identifiable to the NIMC. This is what the numbers look like right now.”
Responding to an enquiry on the number of subscribers without NINs, Adebayo stated that the figure was around 21 million.
He said, “If we take this number (143 million SIM cards) and compare it with the 207 million subscriber records that we have, then the numbers are not looking bad.
“Because you will be looking at about 63 or 64 million SIM cards that do not have NINs. And at an average of about three SIMs per person, it then means that we have about 20 to 21 million people without NINs yet.”
Adebayo said the telecom operators hoped that more subscribers would be able to get their NINs, submit the identity numbers to mobile operators and have them forwarded to NIMC before the February 9, 2021 deadline.
Recall that the Federal Government had directed telecom operators to block any subscriber that does not have his or her SIM registered with a valid NIN.
The order was however extended by 3-weeks from December 30, 2020, to January 19, 2021, and 6-week extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020, to February 9, 2021, following public outcry against the short duration.