- The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy said his life was threatened several times by the NIN-SIM linkage policy.
- He said the policy had helped the country build a credible digital identity database.
- The minister also listed his achievements in the last 4 years.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has said his life was threatened several times over the introduction of the mandatory linking of telecom SIMs with the National Identification Number (NIN).
Pantami stated this on Thursday during his remarks at an event to mark the unveiling of 4,366 digital economy projects executed under the supervision of the Minister and the commissioning of some selected projects. The minister said he stood his ground despite all the threats and ensured that the policy was implemented.
According to him, because of the policy, Nigeria now has a credible digital identity database.
The policy has come to stay
While emphasising that the NIN-SIM linkage policy has come to stay, the Minister said:
- “After the announcement of the NIN-SIM Linkage Policy, I received death threats from those who are against the policy. But I said to myself, I can sacrifice my life for Nigeria.
- “With all the intimidation and the campaign of calumny sponsored to tarnish my image, I stood my ground and said the NIN-SIM linkage policy has come to stay, and there is no going back. Digital identity is the foundation of development for any responsible country.”
4 years achievements
Pantami, who became a minister on August 21, 2019, listed his 4 years of achievements, including the formulation of 23 policies.
The Minister added that under his watch, 4G coverage in Nigeria increased from 23% to 80.86%, and 5G was also launched in Nigeria. Through the NIN-SIM linkage policy, he said enrolments for NIN increased from less than 39 million to 100 million.
He said the average quarterly revenue of the ministry also increased from N51.3 million to N408.7 billion, as assessed by independent bodies. In addition, Pantami said the ICT sector recorded three outstanding highest contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Nigerian economy; and the Ministry recorded the best performance during the independent ministerial mandates’ achievement review by the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) and KPMG.
- “Under my leadership, the digital economy sector has played an important role in developing and diversifying the Nigerian economy. I am grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari, the board and management of parastatals under the Ministry, and all stakeholders for the great support,” he said.
Pantami announced the NIN-SIM linkage policy on December 9, 2020, with a deadline of December 31st, 2020, for all subscribers to comply or get blocked from the networks. The deadline was, however, extended several times until April last year, when the telecom operators were directed to bar all unlinked lines from initiating calls.
Citizens were promised that this will drastically reduce crime (in particular kidnapping) in the country. Has it?