Up to 47.8 million National Identification Numbers (NINs) have been submitted to telecom operators in line with the directive by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for subscribers to link NIN to SIMs before the stipulated deadlines.
This is according to a statement released following a review meeting of the NIN-SIM linkage exercise by the Technical Implementation Committee under the Task Force set up by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
Recall that the Federal Government gave the January 19 deadline for subscribers who have obtained their NINs to link to SIMs while subscribers without NINs are required to register SIMs with NINs on or before February 9, 2021.
“At an average of three to four SIMs per subscriber, this means many millions will be linked up before the deadline in February 2021,” read the statement. But from the figures released and comments by several subscribers across social media, up to 82 million Nigerians could yet lose their mobile connections if the NCC order were enforced by network operators.
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About 27 million NINs Have Not Been Submitted
The 47.8 million NINs submitted to telcos so far may not translate to 47.8 distinctive NINs collected by telcos. For instance, a single subscriber using MTN, Glo and 9mobile SIMs would submit the same NIN to all three mobile operators.
Only about 43 million Nigerians have obtained their NIN, with more than 150 million people still not identified. At an average of three SIMs per subscriber, 47.8 million NINs might represent 16 million unique NINs submitted for NIN-SIM linkage.
Using this metric, there are probably about 27 million NINs yet to be sent to telcos for verification by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and subsequent linkage. That figure could even be lower as subscribers can link NIN to up to 7 SIMs.
Despite the NCC directive, many Nigerians seem rather unperturbed by the possibility of losing mobile network access with the January 19 deadline elapsing today.
Well, we will have to see how that plays out.
82 Million Nigerians Could Lose Mobile Connection
There are over 100 million unique mobile subscribers in Nigeria, yet only an estimated 16 million have actually linked NIN to SIMs. By inference, up to 82 million subscribers could forfeit mobile connections if telcos go ahead to block unlinked SIMs.
While the deadline for the 43 million Nigerians who possess NINs ends today, over 150 million still have until February 9 to undertake the NIN-SIM linkage exercise.
With COVID-19 concerns, the apparent low NIN-SIM linkage compliance levels among Nigerians and the limited number of NIN enrolment centres across the country, it remains to be seen if Nigerian mobile subscribers without NINs would beat the February 9 deadline.
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