The Nigerian government has once again extended the deadline for the country’s mobile phone users to register a valid National Identification Number (NIN) with their service provider, as the focus shifts to remote areas, schools and health centres. The date has now been postponed from 31 December 2021 to 31 March 2022, following ‘a request by stakeholders, including citizens, legal residents and Nigerians in the diaspora’. The aim of the NIN and SIM registration exercise, which commenced in December 2020 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 185 million users at the end of September 2021, notes TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, down from around 200 million subscribers nine months previously, due to the ongoing registration programme. According to the government the total of unique NIN enrolments reached 71 million at end-2021, with an average of three to four SIMs per NIN.