“Right from the beginning when the latest phase of the registration began, many concerned Nigerians had expressed serious reservations against the backdrop of overcrowding of the premises of NIMC nationwide in violation of COVID-19 protocols. What this means is that, if NIN is intended to solve an aspect of a national security problem, it has created another one by creating a platform for community spreading of COVID-19”

After the two days warning strike action by the management staff of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the National Identity Number (NIN) registration has riotously begun again. But it has not resolved the controversies and fundamental crisis the entire process is causing in relation to aiding the community spread of COVID-19 around the country.

There are new funny dimensions in the exercise that are filtering out, which include allegations that corrupt officials collect monies from desperate citizens in order to fast track the registration process for them while others are kept in the sun for hours outside the premises of NOMC without being attended to by relevant officials.

Right from the beginning when the latest phase of the registration began, many concerned Nigerians had expressed serious reservations against the backdrop of overcrowding of the premises of NIMC nationwide in violation of COVID-19 protocols. What this means is that, if NIN is intended to solve an aspect of a national security problem, it has created another one by creating a platform for community spreading of COVID-19.

When the whole exigencies surrounding the NIN registration and the bitter experiences of angry Nigerians at the slow pace of the exercise, coupled with the technical hitches are considered, one wonders whether Federal Government really thinks before it acts.

Nigeria’s population is well over 200 and has 198 million active mobile lines. Out of that number, only 41.5 million numbers have already registered for national identity cards as of May 2020. The balance of 198 million and minus 41.5 is what government-mandated NIMC to register within three weeks without any contingency arrangements or whatsoever!

Which same government or country takes this kind of dangerous (mis)adventure in the face of such a deadly epidemic?

If the report that the government is trying to review the entire clumsy process and may suspend the same is anything to go by, then it is a welcomed development. With the COVID-19 factor in the ongoing NIN registration, the goal of this exercise is counterproductive as it currently stands. The risk is greater than the objective and should therefore be stopped till further notice.

 


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