By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has disclosed that no fewer than 51 million Nigerians have enrolled for the National Identity Number (NIN).
The revelation was made by the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami, on Thursday in Abuja while briefing State House correspondents.
He was speaking at the sixth edition of the ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Media Team at the Presidential Villa at the nation’s capital.
Mr Pantami warned that while the failure to obtain the NIN could lead to between seven and 14 years imprisonment for Nigerians as stipulated by the Constitution, no one should enjoy government services without the number.
He stressed that although obtaining a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card was optional, it was mandatory for all citizens to enrol for the NIN.
The minister also stated that it was important for transactions in the country to be conducted with the NIN.
He believes rather than the population census which can be manipulated, NIN will determine the accurate number of Nigerians because of its uniqueness and tamper-proof.
Mr Pantami equally announced that the aggregate registration for SIM across the country has hit 189 million subscribers.
He explained that out of the figure, 150 million are completed registration while the remaining have problems of improper registration.
The minister decried that improper registration of SIMs has posed a challenge and the government has begun to address them.
The federal government has started the directive to get Nigerians to converge their NINs with the mobile numbers for security reasons as this would allow for easy identification.
It is noteworthy that Sections 27 and 29 of the National Identity Management Commission Act 2007 provides for the mandatory use of National Identity Number for transactions, including application and issuance of a passport, the opening of personal bank accounts, purchase of insurance policies, voter registration, obtaining credit, among others.