The Federal Government has extended the two weeks deadline issued to telecommunications companies to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIMs) not linked with the National Identification Number (NIN) in the country.
In the extension, the apex government approved three weeks for subscribers with NIN to link the number with their SIMs while those without the identification number were offered six weeks to complete the exercise at National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) offices.
With the extension, the three weeks for the subscribers with NIN ends January 19, 2021, and February 9, 2021, for the over 100 million Nigerians subscribers without an identification number.
The approval was granted on Monday during a meeting of the National Task Force on NIN and SIM Registration in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and chaired by Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami.
At the end of the meeting, the Executive Vice-Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, and the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Aliyu Aziz, confirmed the extension in a statement made available to newsmen.
The statement reads: “NIMC has provided strategies to enable citizens attend the registration in full compliance with COVID-19 protocols – particularly the use of facemasks which remains mandatory and maintenance of social distancing.
“The President appreciates Nigerians for their patience and commitment to updating their identities; the Federal Government also thanks all stakeholders for their compliance with the directives”.
Earlier, NIMC spokesman, Kayode Adegoke, in an interview with The Guild, explained that the commission has introduced measures to fast-track the process and prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Adegoke, during a telephone interview, added that the new move would ensure social distancing at the registration centers and that the process would commence on Tuesday particularly in Lagos.
He said: “We are coming up with a strategy whereby applicants will have to do the booking online and they will get a date and once it is not their date, they will be asked to come to the office on the date they were expected to appear for capturing.
“We have to ensure adherence to coronavirus protocols especially social distancing and others. But with the crowd, we cannot do that. And to prevent the unnecessary spread of the virus across the state, we have to introduce the new measure.
“Tomorrow will be by booking and all those that fall on the date will be attended to and those that do not fall on that date will be asked to come on their date.
“Also, a register will be provided at the gate and once we have exhausted the number for the day, the other people will be given another date to come for their capturing and others”, he added.