The Federal Government has extended the former deadline given to all telecommunications operators in the country to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIMs) without National Identification Number (NIN).

This development comes after a meeting of the National Task Force on NIN and SIM Registration which held on Monday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami where the extension deadline issued to all telecommunications operators was part of the resolutions adopted.

The meeting approved three weeks extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30 to January 19, 2021 with approval from the Federal Government.

It also agreed that registration for subscribers who do not have their NIN should be extended by six weeks – from December 30 to February 9, 2021.

The Executive Vice-Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta, and the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Aliyu Aziz, confirmed the extension of the deadline in a statement made public after the meeting.

“NIMC has provided strategies to enable citizens attend the registration in full compliance with COVID-19 protocols – particularly the use of facemasks which remains mandatory and maintenance of social distancing.

“The President appreciates Nigerians for their patience and commitment to updating their identities; the Federal Government also thanks all stakeholders for their compliance with the directives,” the statement read.

Also, the government insisted that the USSD and verification charges for the purpose of linking SIMs with NIN remained suspended during the period.

Major stakeholders in the sector, including the heads of NCC, NIMC, and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) attended the event.

The Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of telecommunications operators such as MTN, Airtel, Ntel, Glo, Smile, and 9Moble, were also in attendance.