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Saturday, 17 April 2021

Minister: Foreigners living in Nigeria can register, obtain NIN

 



Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on Friday said that foreigners living in Nigeria could freely register and obtain the National Identification Number (NIN).


Pantami, who made this known while reacting to reports linking him with terrorism, described his labelling as part of the propaganda against the policy mandating linkage of NIN with SIM cards.


He added that earlier reports that foreigners from neighbouring countries were registering and obtaining NINs in the Northern part of the country were also part of the propaganda.


The Minister said foreigners who stayed in Nigeria for at least two years could register and obtain NIN, according to Sections 16 and 17 of the Act guiding the registration.


The Act, he said, permitted registration of Nigerian citizens, legal residents, legal permanent residents, and legal residents who had stayed in the country for a minimum of two years.


Pantami said: “Now they have started coming with the news that people are coming from neighbouring countries to register.


“What they fail to understand is that the National Identification Number is not only for Nigerians; anybody in Nigeria can obtain it.


“Sections 16 and 17 of the Act mention the registrable people in the country – citizens, legal residents, legal permanent residents, and legal residents for a minimum of two years. 


"So, it is not only for citizens. And it is also important to know that this is not just an indication that they are citizens of Nigeria. It is rather an indication that you presented your biometric data, so the government has control over your data.”


Pantami also dismissed claims that anybody could access the data of Nigerians collected under NIN while insisting that the government’s directive mandating linkage of NIN to SIM cards would help enhance the bid to tackle insecurity in Nigeria.


He added: “And that data of NIMC (National Identity Management Commission), nobody has access to it in any way he likes. Getting access to it illegally is 10 years in prison. It is there in the law. But people will like to discredit it, because they don’t like it.


“As long as it is implemented by the government, it will go a long way in reducing crime and based on the statistics we have been seeing now, it’s really encouraging.


“As government, our priority is the protection of the lives and property of our citizens. Security is our priority as a government –whether in agric, digital economy, education or in health, in whatever.


“President Muhammadu Buhari is so passionate about security, and he directed me to do that because he knows I try to persevere despite challenges and do what is right in the interest of our citizens and humanity.”


He also dismissed claims of his being on the watch-list of the United States for involvement in terrorism. 

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