Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has alleged forces against the Federal Government’s compulsory policy on National Identification Number (NIN) registration for all Nigerians and those residing in the country are behind recent attacks against him.
Pantami in an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES dismissed all the allegations against him, describing them as ‘untrue’.
He further denied links to extremist views, saying criminals and other ‘entrenched interests’ are behind the attacks on him.
“I have no doubt about this. It has to do with the National Identification Number. Do you know one thing? This policy was started in 2011, it was not successful. Why? It was fought
“…In 2015, it came up, it was not successful. In 2018 there was a time that there were meetings between government and mobile network operators.
“And it was actually announced that by the agreement with government, the deadline was January 2018. It is there online, I will share it with you if you like. By January 2018, it was not implemented because there are forces against it. There are forces!”
Pantami explained NIN registration is not only meant for Nigerians but it could be obtained by anybody in Nigeria.
“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.
“Section 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.