BusinessDay

It’s a crime to do business in Nigeria without NIN – Pantami

...FG may extend registration as only 51m authenticated so far

Ahead of the April 6, 2021 deadline given Nigerians to link their SIM cards to the National Identification Number (NIN), Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, has said it is a criminal offence in the country to carry out business activities without first acquiring the NIN.

Pantami, who spoke at the 6th Presidential Media briefing in Abuja on Thursday, cited section 27 of the NIMC Act of 2007 to buttress his point.

“The NIMC Act clause 27 states that you need the NIN number for opening a bank account, for insurance, land transactions, voter registration, and driver’s licence. So, it is an offence to transact any business activity without first having your NIN,” he said.

This is even as indications have emerged that the Federal Government may extend the registration period as only 51 million numbers have been authenticated so far.

Pantami said his ministry had scheduled a stakeholders’ meeting for Thursday afternoon to decide on the fate of those who are yet to process their NIN.

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Insider source at the National Identity Management Commission ( NIMC) disclosed that the government has no immediate plans to disband the over 1,060 centres designated to register subscribers despite the deadline, given the large number of Nigerians who are yet to acquire the NIN as at April 1, 2021.

Pantami also put the number of SIM card subscribers linked to NIN at over 150 million, adding, however, that enrolment of NIN is 51 million as at March 31, 2021.

He did not state when the suspension of new SIM registration will be lifted.

“The ban may affect our economy, but when addressing the issue of security, the economy takes a back stage. Some of the SIM registration carried out in the past compromised the system.

“People used the biometrics of one person to register about 100 SIMs after people are given money. This is even as some SIMs were improperly registered. This is one of the most difficult decisions taken as a minister. It is a very painful decision, but we had to take it,” he said.

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