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NIN-SIM integration: Subscribers fret over COVID-19

Telecommunications subscribers in the country are currently apprehensive over the need to go for the National Identity Number (NIN) enrolment at a time the country is experiencing fresh wave of COVID-19 cases.

This is even as they kicked against the short time given by the government for all subscribers to link their NIN with their SIM registration database. Although all the telecoms service providers have introduced codes to allow subscribers who already have the NIN do a seamless integration on their lines, the fear stems from the fact that millions of phone users are yet to enroll for the number being issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). According to the subscribers, many Nigerians now face the risk of contracting the deadly disease while queuing up for the NIN enrolment.

Speaking with our correspondent, the Chairman of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS), Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, said by giving a deadline of two weeks for millions of Nigerians to register for NIN, the government will be exposing the people to COVID-19. Ogunbanjo queried the timing of the directive, saying that the government has shown insensitivity to the need for Nigerians to stay safe as more cases of COVID-19 cases are being recorded on daily basis.

He said: “Telling subscribers to get their NIN by all means at this period is not safe. We all know how the queue for the enrolment is always long even when there was no deadline. “And now that people have been threatened that their lines would be blocked, you can only imagine the crowd at the NIMC registration centres, which are not even well spread. “Many people will be exposed to COVID-19 in the process, and we are, therefore, calling on the government to review its decision.”

Recall that the Federal Government had earlier this week directed that all subscribers in the country must provide valid NIN to update their SIM registration records. The submission of NIN by subscribers, the government said, is to take place within two weeks, from December 16 and end by December 30.

The government said all lines not linked after the deadline would be blocked. Meanwhile, the Federal Government, yesterday, ordered all network providers to cancel the N20 charge for the retrieval of the National Identification Number (NIN) with immediate effect. The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, who gave the order in a statement issued yesterday, said: “The minister’s directive which takes immediate effect is an intervention aimed at making the process easier and affordable.

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