Nigerians, in their thousands, have continued to besiege the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) centres across the country on a daily basis to register their National Identity Number (NIN), LEADERSHIP checks have revealed. The situation is more pronounced in Lagos and Ogun states NIMC centres where our correspondents monitored.
Not less than 2,000 Nigerians have continue to besieged the NIMC centres at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, on a daily basis, while the situation seems similar across other centres across the state and it’s neighbouring states.
Recall that on the April 4, 2022, the federal government, through telecoms companies, barred Nigerians, who had not linked their SIMs and NINs together, from making calls. Nigerians who were caught in the web, are not finding it easy to register their NIN as the crowds who besieged NIMC registration centres on a daily basis are overwhelming.
This is as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has informed telecoms consumers, whose Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards are barred from making calls, that affected SIMs will not be unbarred by the service providers until they are linked with the National Identification Numbers (NINs) of the SIM holders.
Findings from a tour of some of NIMC centres in Lagos and Ogun states on Monday, showed that most Nigerians are frustrated as a result of the crowds at the various NIN registration centres in the state.
For instance, at the NIMC office in Alausa, Lagos, not less than 2000 Nigerians were seen at the centre, trying to either register, validate or collect their NIN slips.
only three NIMC workers were seen at the registration desks, to attend to the crowds (as at Monday).
Nigerians who spoke to LEADERSHIP said this has slowed down the process, as just few people who are lucky enough are registered on a daily basis.
A 55 year old man, Mr. Johnson Emeka told LEADERSHIP that he has been coming to the NIMC centre at Alausa, for the past five days, but he hasn’t been fortunate. “I got to this place at 6:00am today, and I was given number 40. It is 1:00pm and it has not gotten to my turn. The last number they called was like number 15. I have been coming to this place for the past five days, but it has never gotten to my turn. It is frustrating,” Emeka lamented.
He however appealed to the government to deploy more staff, especially to the registration stand, to fast track the process. “I plead with NIMC to do the needful. The people working inside are few compared to the numbers of Nigerians who came to register their NIN. There are only three workers, registering this huge crowds. Just look at the crowd! There is no way it will get to my turn today. I have been coming to this centre for the past five days and it has not gotten to my turn. I appeal to NIMC to employ more workers to fast track the process,” he added.
Mr James (surname withheld) said he came to the centre as early as 8:00am and was given number 60, while complaining that less than 20 people have registered so far. “I have been coming to this place since on the 1st of April but I have not been so lucky. Nothing is working at this centre, the system is porous. I am so sad right now because my barred line is my business line, without it I cannot eat,” he said.
While government has extended the date for SIM-NIN linkage severally, James said he had earlier registered his NIN, but recently found out that it was fake. “I did it last year in one of the private centres, but I just realized that it was fake this March 2022, because I could not link it to my SIM. That is why I have come to NIMC centre at Alausa this time around,” he said.
He however appealed to government to unbar his line and give him time to register it, while assuring that he will never take it for granted. “I promise to come here every day until I am successful, but for the meantime, I appeal to government to unbar my line. I need to eat. I know how many businesses that have slipped my hand as a reason of my barred lines,” he appealed.
A 70 year old woman, Agnes Okeke, also appealed to government to allow the elderly people and nursing mothers to register first and seamlessly, adding that they should be given priority because of their condition. “My children told me not to bother myself with the registration, but because I have high blood pressure, I need my line to be restored, because I will need to call them to take me to the hospital should my condition becomes severe. But coming to this centre and seeing this crowds is frustrating. I appeal to government to pity us, by not allowing us to stay on the long queue,” she pleaded.
Meanwhile, power outage has marred the NIN registration exercise at some of the NIMC centres in Lagos state. For instance, a visit to the NIMC centre in Kosofe local government area, Lagos, showed that power outage, has grounded the registration exercise.
One of the NIMC officials who spoke with LEADERSHIP anonymously, said, there has not been constant power supply in that area. “We cannot do anything without light. For instance, there is no electricity throughout today. We have been telling people to come back once there is a light,” he said.
In his response, the head of corporate communications, NIMC, Mr Kayode Adegoke told LEADERSHIP that the commission has intensified effort to cushion the crowds at the various NIMC centres, adding that Nigerians can now go to the over 15,200 enrolment centres during the weekend to register their NINs.
Adegoke said about 203 private and public sector institutions have been granted approval to carry out enrolment, adding that NIMC has established 150 enrolment centres in 38 countries.
Unblocking SIM Cards Require SIM Linkage -NCC
This information has become necessary in view of a viral web link (https://bit.ly/NCC-Sim-Unbar-Gov-Ng) being circulated on social media and on some websites. The link and accompanying narrative represent patent misinformation and disinformation certainly designed to mislead the general public about the SIM cards that are barred from making calls, due to non-linkage with NIN at the set deadline.
The misleading, viral message mischievously displays NCC logo and ostensibly promises members of the public that, by clicking the web link and following further instructions in that regard, subscribers with barred SIM cards can unbar such SIMs across mobile networks without a valid NIN.
For the avoidance of doubt, the NCC wishes to state categorically that it never issued such statement, directing subscribers or indicating that subscribers can unbar their SIM without a NIN. As such, the originators and peddlers of the spurious message were out to mischievously mislead unsuspecting members of public. Therefore, their message should be disregarded.
The NCC is the national regulatory authority for telecommunications in Nigeria, and it is co-driving the process of the NIN-SIM linkage with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) as directed by the Federal Government.
The Commission will not, under any circumstance, act contrary to Federal Government’s directive to MNOs to bar SIMs cards not linked to NINs at the expiration of the last deadline given for the NIN-SIM linkage exercise.
Having disclaimed the false viral message, the Commission wishes to officially inform affected telecom subscribers on how they can get their SIMs actively connected to make calls.
First, for subscribers that have not registered for their NIN, what to do is to get their SIM registered at accredited centres across the country and then link the NIN with their SIM cards through channels provided by their service providers.
Secondly, for subscribers with registered NINs, what to do is to simply go and link the NIN with their SIMs through channels provided by their service providers.
The NCC, therefore, uses this opportunity to reiterate its commitment to the Federal Government’s directive on the NIN-SIM Linkage to among others, strengthen security situation in the country, assist in other socio-economic planning activities of the government, as well as to always advance the course of consumer protection from falling victim to the antics of cyber fraudsters.
Finally, the NCC wishes to also inform the general public that it is not recruiting at the moment.
Accordingly, the advertisement indicating there is ongoing recruitment at NCC, which is circulating on Twitter, and through polymediation, may have been diffused to other social media networks, is a scam and should be disregarded.