The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, says Nigerians without a National Identification Number risk imprisonment.

He said this at the weekly Presidential Media briefing organized by the Presidential Communication Media Team in Abuja on Thursday.

While encouraging Nigerians to enrol for NIN, the minister warned that those yet to obtain the NIN risk imprisonment as stipulated by the Nigerian Constitution.

He explained that while obtaining a SIM card may be optional, NIN is mandatory, noting that a lot of transactions in the country are not supposed to be carried out without NIN.

He said, “National identity is a law and it’s mandatory and for you to even conduct certain activities in this country without the number is an offence; for you to get voter’s card in Nigeria, based on section 27 of NIMC Act, it is an offence.

“For you to open a bank account without National Identity Number is an offence. For you to pay tax is an offence, for you to collect pension is an offence, for you to enjoy any government service, without having National Identity Number is an offence.

“Section 29 says if you do any of these in 27, without obtaining National Identity Number you have committed a crime that will lead to fines or imprisonment, or both of them. And this is 14 years. It is not today.”

According to him, 51 million Nigerians have enrolled for the National Identification Number as of March 31, 2021, NAN reports.

He added, “Based on the requirement by law each and every citizen and legal resident must obtain his/her National Identification Number, which is being coordinated by the National Identity Management Commission. It’s a requirement by law but many citizens ignore it.

“What we achieved in the area of enrolment from the time Mr President has directed me to supervise NIMC till date is unprecedented and we would continue to ensure that in the next few years we have an almost a complete data base of all our citizens in the country.

“No country will be successful in education, health, budget planning or national planning without data base of its citizens in place.

“What I inherited in the database was less than 20 per cent of our population. But we want to ensure that before we leave office we would look at the database and be proud of our country.”