By Babajide Okeowo
As the deadline for the registration of Subscriber Identification Modules, SIMs with valid National Identification Numbers NINs draws near about 21 million subscribers who are yet to link their numbers stand the risk of disconnection, telecommunications operators under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, ALTON has revealed.
This is even as the association revealed that a total of about 143 million users have now been linked according to Gbenga Adebayo, the Chairman of ALTON
“We collected 47.8 million NINs at an average of three to four SIM cards per person or enrollee. So, on a further average, we have about 3.5 SIMs per person and when multiplied by 47.8 million, that is about 167 million. Now if we take a lower rate, say an average of three SIM cards per person, it is about 143 million SIM cards.
Therefore, what this means is that about 143 million SIM cards now have their NINs identifiable to the NIMC. This is what the numbers look like right now” Adebayo stated.
On the numbers of those yet to link their NIN with their SIM, Adebayo put the figure at about 21 million subscribers.
“If we take this number (143 million SIM cards) and compare it with the 207 million subscriber records that we have, then the numbers are not looking bad.
Because you will be looking at about 63 or 64 million SIM cards that do not have NINs. And at an average of about three SIMs per person, it then means that we have about 20 to 21 million people without NINs yet” he added.
Adebayo said the Telcos hoped that more subscribers would be able to get their NINs, submit them to mobile operators and have them forwarded to NIMC before the February 9, 2021 deadline.
Recall that on December 15, 2020, the Federal Government declared that after December 30, 2020, all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked.
Government later extended the December 30, 2020 deadline following an uproar against the earlier announcement and gave a three-week extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020, to January 19, 2021.
It also gave a six-week extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020, to February 9, 2021.