THE minister of communication and digital economy Isa Pantami has revealed that Nigerians who fail to enroll for the National Identity Number (NIN) could risk 14 years in jail.
Pantami made the comment at the sixth edition of the ministerial briefing organized by the presidential media team at the State House in Abuja on Thursday.
While explaining that the action was in line with the amended 1999 Constitution, he stressed that no one should enjoy government services without the number.
Pantami emphasized that while obtaining a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card might be optional, NIN was mandatory, noting that a lot of transactions in the country should not be conducted without the NIN.
“For you to enjoy any government service without having a National Identity Number is an offence. Section 29 says, if you do any of these in Section 27 without obtaining national identity, you have committed a crime that will lead to fine or imprisonment or both of them and this is 14 years,” he said.
“For you to open a bank account without a National Identity Number is an offence. For you to pay tax, it is an offence. For you to collect a pension, it is an offence.”
He noted that rather than the population census which could be manipulated, NIN would determine the accurate number of Nigerians because it was unique and tamper-proof.
According to the minister, no fewer than 51 million Nigerians had enrolled for NIN and it was important for transactions in the country to be conducted with the number.
Similarly, he announced that the aggregate registration for SIM across the country had hit 189 million.
He explained that out of the figure, 150 million were completed registration while the remaining had problems of improper registration.
The minister decried that improper registration of SIMs had posed a challenge and the government had begun to address them.
He stressed that the government would not renege on the ban on SIM registration for security reasons arising from a huge compromise of the process.