Thousands of Nigerians today, stormed the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) office to get their National Identification Number (NIN).
This is following the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) declaration that all SIM cards which are not duly registered with a valid NIN will be blocked within the next two weeks.
The mammoth crowd is, however, not surprising as just over 42 million Nigerians have NIN compared to the Over 200 million mobile subscribers we have in the country.
This means that over 150 million mobile subscribers will be trying to get the numbers within the next few days.
Zero Social distancing amid rising COVID-19 infections
With the rising numbers of COVID-19 infections in the country, the overcrowding of the NIMC office could spark more trouble as it could lead to the rapid spread of the virus.
On Saturday, the NCDC reported over 900 new infections with over 300 in Lagos.
Pictures from the NIMC office shows no regard for social distancing and there was sparing use of face masks despite admonitions that guidelines should be strictly observed.
Despite the risk, the reduce COVID-19 consciousness in the country means that many Nigerians will disregard guidelines to try to get their NIN before the deadline.
What happened to the NIMC NIN registration app?
NIMC’s NIN registration has been plagued with challenges that have dragged the process for more than a decade. These include a limited number of registration numbers, the dubiousness of officials and several others
Adding a two-week timeline without solving the initial problems NIMC has been facing makes registering millions of Nigerians in a short space of time infeasible.
In August, NIMC revealed a mobile app that allows registered citizens to generate their NIN and National ID cards online. However, that app was quickly pulled off the download stores without no real explanation as to why.
The power of technology to ease complicated processes is undisputed. So, if the mobile app was available it would have eased the process and significantly reduce the crowd at the NIMC office. But so far, there is no indication that the app is returning any time soon.
Despite the tight NIN/SIM integration deadline, most telcos have implemented tech empowered solution like USSD and apps to help subscribers integrate NIN to their sim cards from the comfort of their homes.
MTN has *785# USSD code that allows you add NIN to your SIM card
Similarly, the FG has cancelled the N20 NIN retrieval charge to make the process less tasking.
However, the NIN registration process is another thing entirely. Even before the NCC declaration, several Nigerians have bemoaned the stress full nature of the registration.
With a deadline looming the crowd witnessed at the NIMC office today would only be the beginning.
The House of Representatives has called on the National Communications Commission (NCC) to extend the 31st December deadline but the commission is yet to respond. While we wait for NCC decision, Nigerians going to for their NIN registration should prepare to battle the crowd.
Featured Image Credit: @prinzgbemi (Twitter)
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