The Federal Government is yet to decide whether or not it would go ahead to enforce the April 9 , 2021 deadline it has set for Nigerians, to link their National Identification Numbers(NINs) to their Subscriber Identification Modules (SIMs) .
This is because the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy , Isa Pantami could not give a categorical answer on the issue yesterday in Abuja when he was asked if the date was still sacrosanct and whether it would be shifted.
The Nigerian Communications Commission NCC) on the orders of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy had set the date to block all SIM cards not linked to NIN.
The minister had said ,’’we had a meeting with all stakeholders and that we will make our suggestions to Mr. President and convey our position. If he is satisfied, we will go ahead and make it public.”
This is despite the fact that it has yet to contest the judgment of a Lagos High Court which barred it from blocking SIM that are not linked to National Identity Numbers by April 9 which it has set as the effective date for such action.
The High Court on March 23, 2021 , in a ruling by Justice M.A Onyetenu to a motion that was filed by a Human Rights Lawyer had ordered that the deadline be extended by two months from the day of the judgment.
However Pantami, who spoke yesterday in Abuja clarified that Muhammadu Buhari had no plan to lift the ban on registration of new Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) anytime soon, citing security concerns.
The minister explained that when security issues are being addressed, the economy takes back stage, pointing out that previous efforts compromised the system.
He maintained that while obtaining a SIM card may be optional, NIN was mandatory, quoting Section 27 of the NIMC Act of 2007.
Pantami stressed that it was a criminal offence to carry out business activities in Nigeria without first acquiring the special number.