The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said the current deadline for the registration and linkage of the National Identity Number (NIN) of Nigerians with their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards remains unchanged.
Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC Director of Public Affairs, disclosed this in an interview on Thursday.
The NCC had initially ordered telecommunications companies on December 15, 2020, to suspend the phone lines of subscribers who fail to link their NIN to their SIM card(s) by December 30, 2020.
But on December 21, 2020, the NCC and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in a joint statement announced that the Federal Government had approved the extension of the registration’s deadline by three weeks.
According to the statement, the deadline was extended to January 19, 2021, for those who have NIN, and to February 9, 2021, for individuals without NIN.
However, concerns have been raised about the deadline as a result of the large crowds that have thronged the NIMC registrations across the country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some prominent Nigerians have questioned the continuation of the exercise with the second wave of COVID-19 currently ravaging the country and have called for either its suspension or a modification of the registration process.
But speaking on Thursday, Adinde said no decision has been reached at the moment as the 19 January deadline approaches, noting that it is still status quo with regards to the deadline.
“Right now, apart from the recent information that we made concerning the extension, no further update yet,” Adinde told the Punch.
“The information on this matter was the one that talked about when we moved the extension to January 19 for those who have NINs and February 9 for those who do not have.”
When asked if a further extension is being considered in the light of the prevailing circumstances, the NCC spokesperson said the commission is awaiting directives from the Federal Government.
He, however, reiterated that the current deadline stands.
“No, no, no; if you follow the opinion of the public, it is in favour of extending it,” Adinde said when asked if moves have been made to either extend or suspend the exercise.
“And then, of course, recently there have been concerns on the effect of COVID-19 and all that. But I am sure government is listening and once we are advised, we will go to the press and announce the new position.
“However, as it is now, we are waiting to see what happens at the end of the day, as the recent deadline extension still stands.”