The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has said that Nigerians, who are yet to obtain their National Identification Number, risk up to 14 years sentence.
While owning a Subscriber Identification Module card is optional, the NIN is mandatory, as a lot of transactions are not supposed to be carried out without NIN, Pantami said at a State House press briefing on Thursday.
The minister disclosed that 51 million Nigerians had registered for their NIN as of March 31, 2021.
According to the minister, there are 189 million registered SIM cards in the country; of this figure, 150 million have complete registration, while others have problems of improper registration.
Pantami explained that NIN would determine the number of Nigerians that have registered.
The minister said, “Based on the requirement by law, each and every citizen and legal resident must obtain his/her NIN, which is coordinated by the National Identity Management Commission. It’s a requirement by law, but many citizens ignore it
“No country will be successful in education, health, budget planning or national planning without a database of its citizens in place.
“What I inherited in the database was less than 20 per cent of our population. But we want to ensure that before we leave office, we would look at the database and be proud of our country.”
However, later in the evening, he recanted, claiming that he was misquoted. He explained that the 14 years he mentioned was not referring to jail term, but the number of years the NIN had existed.
The NIMC was formed in 2007 to take charge of national identity registration.
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