Fraudulent registration by some of the special agents appointed by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to speed up the process and server-to-commission downtime slows down the SIM-to-NIN binding exercise prior to release. Dec. 31 deadline, LEADERSHIP Sunday survey can now reveal.
As many as 70 million Nigerians are still struggling to obtain their National Identification Number (NIN).
As of October 31, 2021, NIMC had issued 66 million unique NINs, while there are indications that the commission may have registered an additional four million Nigerians by then, bringing the figure to around 70 million NINs issued. until now.
And with around 140 million active cell phone users nationwide, that means 70 million phone users are still struggling to get their national ID number and might not be able to use their cell phones. in the new year, unless NIMC extends the current deadline.
In recent weeks, registration and issuance of the NIN has been slower due to the downtime of the NIMC server. To this end, those whose NIN had already been issued were unable to verify and print it for the NIN-Sim link, while a majority whose registration had been done at NIMC registration centers did not. have not yet processed their data as a result of this.
Likewise, the LEADERSHIP Sunday survey found that NIN registration has become a lucrative business for racketeers as well as NIN registration centers, as they have taxed desperate Nigerians who want to get their numbers. identity by all means, between 2,000 and 3,000 N for a service that should be free.
These issues, the results also revealed, have prevented some retirees from accessing their pension entitlements after retirement, as they are expected to submit their data to their pension fund administrators (PFAs), whose NIN is a major requirement. , before they can get their pensions. .
Several months after their retirement, some still do not have an identity number essential to collect their retirement.
Likewise, this development affects the adoption of the Micro Retirement Plan (MPP) because the NIN is also a major requirement for its subscription.
According to the NIMC, registration for every Nigerian and legal resident from the age of 16 and over is free at accredited registration centers in all 36 states of Nigeria.
All that is required is to go to the nearest NIMC enrollment center with the Bank Verification Number (BVN), if available, and one of the original and valid supporting documents which is an old national identity card , a driver’s license, a voter card (temporary or permanent), Nigerian international passport, certificate of origin, attestation letter from a prominent leader in your community, birth certificate, declaration of age and card. identity of government personnel, among others.
But when LEADERSHIP on Sunday visited some of the NIN registration points in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and some urban centers across the country, the reality on the ground was totally different, as Nigerians who cannot wait for the crowds in the centers NIN registration accredited persons had to pay up to N 3,000 at the so-called “special centers” for their NIN registration.
According to a Lagos businessman, Mr James Sele, this is just too much, because not all Nigerians can afford it.
For him, the special centers are a welcome development, as they will encourage Nigerians who work Monday to Friday to do their NIN registration at their convenience, but paying up to N 3,000 (for a registration that is supposed to be free). just isn’t fair, especially to Nigerians, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet.
Sele said, while recommending that “the government which set up the special centers should be the one who pays them, not the Nigerians”.
For a high school student, Ada Nwofor, it is disheartening to know that one has to pay 1,500 N, if he does not want to stay in the queue even in accredited centers like the Kosofe local government council. , in Lagos State.
Nwofor told LEADERSHIP on Sunday that she had been traveling to Kosofe Lagos State since October 2021 for her NIN registration, but that in turn never happened, simply because she did not have 1,500 N to bribe council officials.
“At first I was frustrated, but because I needed the NIN for my JAMB registration, I had to keep going until it was finally my turn, which was December 3, 2021”, a- she added.
When asked how much she paid? Nwafor said: “When my turn finally came, I had to pay 500 N for printing the NIN slip. So if you have the money your money will work and speak for you, but people like me who have no money had to go through a rigorous process before it happened to us.
Dada Fausat suffered a similar fate, as she paid 2,000 N to the secretariat of the Oke-Odo local council in Lagos, before she could register with the NIN. Even that, she said, she had to wait six weeks before finally getting her NIN on Thursday, mainly due to NIMC server downtime.
On why special centers charge Nigerians for NIN registration, an owner of one of the special centers in Lagos, who spoke anonymously with LEADERSHIP on Sunday, revealed that they paid $ 1 , 4 million naira before NIMC granted them permission to operate as agents. .
“With the 1.4 million naira, we received login information to enable us to access the NIMC website and register Nigerians for NIN registration. For me, I am only billing N700 for the first time and within one to seven days their slip with the NIN number will be ready to be picked up.
“If you have a problem with the name or date of birth, we get in touch with someone from NIMC to do it for us. My contact person charges up to N30,000 to N40,000. Meanwhile on NIMC website it is supposed to be N15,000.
“I have to get my money back, that’s why I charge the Nigerians. Three months ago I billed up to N 1,500, but now I reduced the charge to N 700. Some of us still charge up to N 3,000, depending on your location ”, a- he explained.
Despite the money paid to some of these special agents for the registration of the NIN, Ms Olamide Ayodeji told LEADERSHIP on Sunday that they were having trouble linking their clients’ SIM cards to NIN because their names had been captured by NIMC.
“The majority of our customers who have this problem have registered in specialized centers. They received a slip with NIN, but if we connect to the NIMC database, they were not captured. We do not know if it is the fault of the special agents or the NIMC. For us, this has really slowed business down recently and we can only advocate with NIMC to rectify the problem, ”Ayodeji said.
Meanwhile, speaking at the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) 2021 media conference in Lagos this weekend, Chief Oversight, National Pensions Commission (PenCom), Mr. Ehimeme Ohioma, said there was an agreement between the pension sector and NIMC. Where NIMC staff are present in the Pension Fund Administrators (PFA) office to register pension contributors, server downtime is a major problem.
This, she said, affects the pension industry data retrieval exercise of which NIN is a major requirement. This, she added, also affects the uptake of micro-pension plans, as potential policyholders struggle to get their NINs.
She urged the NIMC to rectify some of the shortcomings in the registration process to ensure that people, especially contributors, can obtain their ID numbers transparently.
Earlier, a statement from October 30, 2021, jointly signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Ike Adinde, and the Head of Corporate Communications, NIMC, Kayode Adegoke, cited the minister. Communications and Digital. Economics, Professor Isa Pantami, stating that the review of the exercise’s progress indicated that over 66 million unique NINs have been issued, an indication of progress in the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage.
“However, a significant portion of the population is not yet registered in the National Identity Database (NIDB), which may be due to some challenges that the federal government has addressed and made efforts to. mitigate, hence the need to extend the deadline, ”NIMC said.
According to NCC and NIMC, as of October 30, 2021, there were over 9,500 registration systems and over 8,000 NIN registration centers inside and outside the country, which made the process much easier. NIN registration and the subsequent link from NIN to SIM.
The statement explains that the NIN-SIM verification process supports the government’s desire to develop Nigeria’s digital economy, strengthen our capacity to protect our cyberspace, and support security agencies.
According to the statement, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari graciously approved the extension to meet the aspirations of the population and make it easier for its citizens inside and outside the country and legal residents to obtain the extension. NIN and link it to their SIM card.
“The federal government will ensure that all innocent and law-abiding citizens and residents do not lose access to their phone lines as long as they obtain and connect their NIN. The government will also continue to provide a favorable environment for investors in the telecommunications sector, ”he said.
LEADERSHIP’s efforts on Sunday to elicit feedback from NIMC on this development failed as messages and calls made to the cell phone of committee spokesperson Mr. Kayode Adegoke went unanswered. at the time of writing this report.