The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has called on the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Nigerian Communications Commission to extend the deadline for the planned linking of Subscribers Identity Modules(SIM) cards to National Identity Number (NIN).
The Association’s appeal on was against the back drop of a Press Statement from the Public Affairs Unit of the Nigerian Communication Commission dated December 15th 2020 on the implementation of New SIM Registration Rules. The statement
Inter-alia, require that Mobile phone subscribers should link their SIM to their NIN within two weeks (from December 16, 2020 and end by 30th December 2020); after which all SIMs without NIN will be blocked.
NACCIMA observes that while it is appropriate to link SIM to NIN as part of steps to prevent abuse and misuse of SIM Cards especially for criminal purpose and to address the security challenges facing the country. It however important to stress that there is a need for extension of the period of implementation of the new SIM Regulation Rules for at least two months, i.e. end February 2021. The reasons for this extension of deadline include the following:-
i. Currently not many Nigerians have NIN numbers consequently many will rush and rowd various NIN Registration Centre in a desperate bid to obtain their NIN numbers.
ii The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control has warned of second wave of the Covid-19 Pandemic and advised against crowding and that Nigerians must observe social distancing. Crowding will certainly occur at the registration centres for the NIN and this should be avoided to prevent spreading of Covid-19.
iii Business activities are usually at their peak in the last two weeks of the year hence the enforcement of this new SIM Regulations record update, will certainly affect businesses adversely; and
iv. It is highly expected that there will be high incidence of truancy and absenteeism on the part of staff desperate to update their SIM. Consequently most people will spend all day at the centres struggling to meet the deadline. Besides, a rushed exercise will provide avenue for corruption and touting.
It is against the background of the foregoing that NACCIMA is appealing to the Honourable Minister, and the Nigerian Communications Commission and by extension all the stakeholders, to extend the period of the exercise to at least 28th February, 2021.
We hope this appeal for extension of time on linking SIM to NIN , which has also been made by various members of the public will receive positive consideration and the deadline will be extended till at least end of February 2021.