The Federal Government has warned that those yet to obtain their National Identity Number (NIN) risk seven or 14 years imprisonment as stipulated by the Nigerian Constitution.
It also said it would not lift the ban on new Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) registration any time soon for security reasons.
Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, stated this at the sixth edition of ministerial briefing by the Presidential Media Team at Aso Villa, Abuja.
He said while obtaining SIM card maybe optional, NIN was mandatory, and cited section 27 of the NIMC Act of 2007 where it is a criminal offence to carry out business activities without first acquiring NIN.
“The NIMC Act clause 27 states that you need the NIN number for opening bank accounts, for insurance, land transactions , voters registration, drivers licenses. So, it is an offence to transact any business activity without first having your NIN,” he said.
The minister also put the number of SIM card subscribers linked to NIN at over 150 million, adding, however, that total NIM enrolment stood at 51million as at March 31.
He said when it comes to security issues, the economy takes back stage, insisting that SIM registration carried out in the past compromised the system.
“The ban on new SIM remains in place for security reasons. We know this ban is painful, but very necessary. In the past, SIM registration process were compromised, most of the SIMS were improperly registered, hence we have most of the SIM used in committing crimes in the country. So what we are doing now is matching all the SIMS with NIN, this has become necessary for security purposes. The ban may affect our economy, but when addressing issues of security, the economy takes back stage.”
Pantami said some people were found to have used the biometrics of one person to register about 100 SIMs, after people were given money, even as some SIMs were improperly registered.