The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy Dr Isa Pantami on Wednesday said the Federal Government would soon announce a timeline for Nigerians to link their National Identity Numbers (NIN) with their bank accounts.
Pantami, who spoke with State House Correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, said the timelines for the mandatory linking of the NIN to bank accounts would soon be released.
The minister had also said NIN would replace the Bank Verification Number (BVN) because the latter was not backed by law.
READ ALSO: FG moves to give Nigerians NIN via BVN
Panatami had last year set between 16 and 30 December last year as the timeline for telephone subscribers to link their Subscriber Identity Module (SIMs) with NIN.
The government had warned that ‘violations of this directive will be met by stiff sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license’.
After an outcry by Nigerians over the timing of the directive which had led to subscribers crowding at the few registration centres of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) across the country in disregard to the protocols of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the National Task Force on National Identification Number (NIN) and SIM registration granted another extension.
Three weeks extension was granted for subscribers with NIN from 30 December 2020, to 19 January 2021, six week extension for subscribers without NIN from 30 December 2020, to 9 February 2021.
The Federal Government finally gave a new deadline to 6 April 2021, but stakeholders have urged the Federal Government to extend allow the exercise to run for, at least, six months and even remove the timeline in its entirety.
Pantami said told reporters that the Council also approved about N8.9 billion for a new National ICT Park in the FCT to coordinate public and private ICT hubs in the country.
He said: “The wisdom behind the ICT Park is for it to be a center where public and private ICT hubs are going to be coordinated by the Federal Government, where young innovators with disruptive ideas will be mentored and all that they need to be provided for. We will provide enabling environment for them to utilize and come up with disruptive technologies.
“This is the first of its kind in Nigeria, we have so many parks and hubs but they are regional. This one will be central and will be a center of job creation for our teeming youths. It will be a center where technology will be developed and incubated.
It will play a significant role in reducing unemployment and the reduce the gap of unemployability.
“The Federal Executive Council has approved the memo and we are going to start establishing it in Abuja and we hope Abuja is going to be another Silicon Valley in Nigeria,” he said.