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01.04.2021 news ’14 Years in Existence, Not Imprisonment’ — Pantami Clarifies NIN Comment

Published 1st Apr, 2021

By Damilola Ayeni

Isa Pantami, Minister for Communication and Digital Economy, has denied saying that Nigerians without National Identification Number (NIN) risk up to 14 years in jail.

Pantami had been widely quoted as saying, during a briefing organized by the media department of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that citizens without NIN have no right to enjoy the basic services of government and that doing so is punishable under the law.

“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 had been quoted as saying.

The minister has now clarified that he mentioned “14 years in existence” [of the National Identity Card Management Commision (NIMC)] — not “14 years imprisonment”.

“This has been qouted out of context. Pantami has not mentioned “14 years imprisonment” but said NIMC has been 14 years in existence, since 2007,” he said in reaction to the story. “Since the session has been recorded by journalists. It is better to release the video for public to listen to it, please. Best wishes!”

Earlier, a court sitting in Lagos ordered Pantami’s ministry to jettison the plan to block the SIM of citizens to who fail to link their SIM cards to NIN by April 6, 2021.

Pantami further stated that National Identity is law and mandatory for Nigerians to carry out certain activities.

“For you to open a bank account without a National Identity Number is an offence. For you to pay tax is an offence. For you to collect pension is an offence,” he said.

Published 1st Apr, 2021

By Damilola Ayeni

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