The Truth Behind The Extension Date In NIN Number Registration: OPINION
The Federal government has announced that it would be extending the NIN number registration for Nigerians both home and abroad from its initial date of 30th December 2020 to April 6, 2021. The deadline for THE National Identity Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) linkage exercise has now been extended by 8 weeks.
According to the statement made public by the management of the National Identity Management Commission [NIMC], the NIN number registration would be extended by eight weeks to allow both telecoms and Nigerians to have adequate time to complete both NIN registration and SIM card Linkage. Last year the Federal government gave a Three (3) weeks extension for subscribers with NIN from 30th December 2020 to 19th January 2021. While those without NIN numbers were given a Six (6) weeks extension from 30th December 2020 to 9th February 2021.
However, the challenge that has bedeviled the whole process has highlighted the need for the government to further extend the NIN number registration by another 8 weeks. The truth behind the new extension date, which the Federal government and the Telecoms are not telling Nigerians is that the Telecoms are having a difficult time verifying the NIN numbers issued by the National Identity Management Commission. There have been claims in some quarters that the NIN numbers issued by the commission most times do not correlate with information on the database.
Secondly, there is a lack of compliance with the Covid-19 protocol. Last year when the National Task Force on National Identification Number (NIN) and SIM Registration met. With the meeting chaired by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) with major stakeholders in the sector including Chairman-NCC, EVC-NCC, DG-NITDA, DG-NIMC, ECTS/ECSM-NCC, Chairman ALTON, CEOs of MTN, Airtel, Ntel, Glo, Smile, and 9Moble in attendance.
It was agreed that based on the endorsement of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has provided strategies to enable citizens to attend the registration in full compliance with Covid-19 protocols – particularly the use of facemasks which remains mandatory and maintenance of social distancing. But a visit to any NIMC office would show a different story. The large crowd does not comply with Covid-19 protocols and the use of facemask and keeping social distancing is almost absent.
Thirdly, poor management of the whole process. The whole process of the NIN number registration and NIN number SIM linkage has become a debacle. Many officials of NIMC are not taking the process seriously the way they should. Attendance to customers is poor, only those who have an inside person is attended to. There have been reports that many officials of NIMC have turn process it into a money-making process and this is greatly causing challenges.
With the new extension date on the NIN number registrations, the government and management of NIMC should put more effort into correcting the fault which has created the problem in the process, or else there is likely to be another extension again.