If you are one of the 21 million subscribers who are yet to get their National Identity Numbers (NIN), you are in for a treat. 

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has announced that telecommunication companies and some private companies in Nigeria are now licensed to register and issue NIN to subscribers who are yet to get their identity numbers. 

The Director-General of the commission, Aliyu Aziz revealed recently that the development is to reduce the number of people clustering at different NIMC centres around the country for registration, Punch reports.  

“We have licensed private and public sector organisations including telcos (sic) so as to create more centres.” 

On January 7th, employees of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) embarked on a nationwide strike. 

A statement released by the commission earlier this month explained that the strike was due to unpaid salaries and Covid-prone working environment of the employees.

How this works

This new development suggests that new registration centres will be opened and managed by network operators and some private companies who are yet to be known.

Earlier this month, NIMC said unless they were provided with essential COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) their staff weren’t allowed to register any subscribers. 

The commission noted that some of their staff members got exposed to COVID-19 and the federal government didn’t take adequate measures to stop the spread of the virus.

Some questions on the minds of the Nigerian people: 

  • Why  did the commission take this long to issue licenses to telcos? 
  • Why do subscribers still need to be at a physical location to register for NIN when telcos can easily generate numbers using existing information in their databases? 

Last year, on the 15th of December, the NCC ordered the suspension of the registration of new SIM cards by all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country. The commission later gave a new ruling that required mobile network subscribers to provide their NIN to update SIM registration records before December 30th, 2020. 

With the influx of people at various registration centres across the country, many Nigerians continue to complain about the possible exposure to Covid-19. Citizens have called for digital intervention that will allow them to register for their NIN without leaving the comfort of their homes or worrying about an impossible deadline. 

After the December 30th registration deadline elapsed, another one was fixed for January 19. 

Amidst this new development, the 21-day ultimatum issued by the management of NIMC is still in force.     

Bright Azuh Author

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