Telecommunications companies have been licensed to register people who do not have National Identity Numbers to reduce the large crowds at the offices of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the government agency said.
NIMC director-general Aliyu Aziz said some other private and public organisations had also been licensed by the commission to avoid overcrowding at the commission’s offices.
“We have licensed private and public sector organisations including telcos (telecommunications companies) so as to create more centres,” Aziz told PRNigeria.
Aziz’s diclosure came after Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, constituted a committee to address the demands of NIMC employees.
NIMC workers had downed tools on January 7, 2021 in protest against the poor welfare and exposure to COVID-19. The strike was suspended days after.
Nigeria government in December 2020 all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked. It extended the deadline by six weeks for persons without NIN.
Despite the extension, the process has not been hitch-free at the centres as crowds continue to besiege registration centres nationwide with many calling for outright suspension of the NIN registration due to the violation of COVID-19 protocols.
Pantami in January argued that linking sim cards to NIN was designed to be a smooth process which turned rowdy because people chose not to comply to government’s directive.
“The deadline was announced since February 2020 – the first day that the policy was announced in Nigeria was on 4th Feberuary 2020,” Pantami in an interview on Channels Television Politics Today.
“So it was announced since then that every citizen who owns a sim card should obtain a national identity number and submit same to the mobile line operator.
“Citizens, instead of going to obtain their national identity number, they fail to do that, they keep debating…they couldn’t comply.”