Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami has warned that Nigerians risked between seven to 14 years of imprisonment as prescribed by the constitution if they failed to obtain their National Identification Number (NIN).
Pantami issued this warning at the weekly Presidential Media briefing organized by the Presidential Communication Media Team in Abuja on Thursday.
He disclosed that 51 million Nigerians have enrolled for the NIN as of March 31, 2021, adding that 189 million Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) had been registered in the country out of which 150 million registrations had been completed.
While encouraging Nigerians to enrol for NIN, the minister warned that “those yet to obtain the NIN risk seven or 14 years imprisonment” as stipulated by the Nigerian Constitution.
He explained that while obtaining a SIM card may be optional, NIN is mandatory, noting that a lot of transactions in the country are not supposed to be carried out without NIN.
“Clause 27 of the NIMC Act states that you need the NIN number for opening bank account, for insurance, land transactions, voters’ registration, drivers’ licence. So, it is an offence to transact any business activity without first having your NIN.
“Based on the requirement by law each and every citizen and legal resident must obtain his/her NIN, which is being coordinated by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). It’s a requirement by law but many citizens ignore it.
“What we achieved in the area of enrolment from the time Mr President has directed me to supervise NIMC till date is unprecedented and we would continue to ensure that in the next few years we have an almost a complete data base of all our citizens in the country.
“No country will be successful in education, health, budget planning or national planning without data base 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,” he added.
Pantami stated that the number of enrolment centres has doubled while the number of computers has tripled. He added that NIN would determine the total number of Nigerians that had registered because of the unique number.