The Nigerian government has extended the deadline for the country’s mobile phone users to register a valid National Identification Number (NIN) with their service provider for the sixth time, as the focus shifts to remote areas, schools and health centres. The date has now been postponed from 26 July to 31 October 2021, following a request by stakeholders ‘to accommodate registration in hard-to-reach remote areas, for foreigners diplomatic missions and diaspora, and to address low enrolments in schools and hospitals’. The aim of the NIN and SIM registration exercise, which commenced in December last year and has been extended multiple times, is to improve the security in the West African nation. To facilitate the process, telecoms operators and other enrolment agents have opened centres across the country to make it easier for eligible citizens and residents to obtain and link their NINs.
Nigeria had just over 188 million users at the end of March 2021, notes TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, down from around 200 million subscribers three months previously, due to the ongoing registration programme. According to the government the total of unique NIN enrolments has now reached 59.8 million, with an average of three to four SIMs per NIN.