· Lagos leads with 8.89m issues
· Ministry expected to make official pronouncement today
· Subscribers want registration, verification exercise open-ended
The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has issued 77.1 million unique National Identification Numbers (NIN) in the country.
This new milestone was attained on March 21. It comes as the deadline for the verification and linking of NIN to Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards ends today.
While Nigerians await the next direction on the NIN-SIM exercise from the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the verification exercise, which started in December 2020 has had the deadline shifted eight times.
As at the end of 2021, the number of Nigerians without NIN, going by NIMC statistics, was 134.4 million, while issued NINs stood at 70 million. But from January to March, 7.7 million more NINs were issued. By implication, it means some 126.7 million Nigerians are still without NIN.
The Guardian checks showed that of the 77 million issued NINs, males were allocated 43.3 million, while the female folks have 33.7 million.
Geographical registrations showed that Lagos leads with 8.89 million, while Kano has 6.3 million. Kaduna has 4.5 million, Ogun (3.14 million), Oyo (3.13 million), FCT (2.88 million), Rivers (2.35 million), Katsina (2.34 million), Delta (2.12 million) and Borno (1.99 million).
The 10 leading states from the bottom are Kebbi (1.6 million), Sokoto (1.57 million), Osun (1.56 million), Gombe (1.5 million), Kogi (1.4 million) and Kwara (1.41 million). Others are Abia (1.4 million), Akwa Ibom (1.36 million), Imo (1.31 million) and Enugu (1.26 million).
North West leads with the regional distribution with 19.5 million, followed by South West with 19.3 million. North Central has 13 million; North East has 9.5 million while South-South and South East residents were 8.9 million and 6.58 million respectively.
NIMC, which recently opened its third NIN diaspora enrolment centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, puts the diaspora issuance at 118,529, with a gender ratio of 65,533:52,996 in favour of men.
MEANWHILE, teething problems have continued to stall the execution of the initiative. For instance, The Guardian gathered that there are still backlogs of NINs, which have been sent by telcos to the NIMC office for verifications but the backend facility at the Commission is still a major issue. “I doubt if NIMC can process and verify one million NINs in a day,” a telco source said.
Besides, re-processing issued NINs with either Date of Birth errors or any other mistakes on the slip could take eight to 12 weeks, even more before rectification can be effected, after which the affected person must have parted with some amount of money.
Candidates for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) have equally bemoaned their inability to register on time, saying with Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board’s (JAMB) insistence on National Identity Number (NIN) as mandatory, more hardship has been added to their registration predicament.
They alleged that with NIN requirement, the board has forced them to go through difficulties like extortion, long queues in scorching weather, among other challenges.
Either to beat today’s deadline or correct some mistakes on some already issued NIN slips, crowds were seen at some of the NIMC offices in the country, especially at the Alausa, Ikeja-Lagos office.
A bank worker, who simply identified herself as Bukola Adegbaju said there was an error on her NIN slip, which had to do with her date of birth and she has not been attended to since Monday that she has been coming.
“The mistake was from NIMC because I gave them the correct details, when the slip came out, it was another thing entirely that came out. I had contacted someone at Festac Secretariat, who said I should bring N40, 000 and that within four days, the error will be sorted, but I don’t have that amount of money. The reason I had to come to Alausa, where I learnt they collect N15, 000 to rectify. Today (yesterday) made it the third day of coming, but has not been attended to. The crowds are much…..you too can see the crowd yourself. I need the corrected NIN slip to process my International Passport, I want to leave this country,” Adegbaju stated.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, had in February admitted that there are still challenges with NIMC that bothers largely on funding, which he noted had made the process a bit slow.
Pantami had said that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of some funds for NIMC, “but the funds have not been released to NIMC because there is no money for now. But I think they (NIMC) deserved commendation for the success they have achieved within a limited time despite several challenges.”
NONETHELESS, subscribers have called on the Federal Government to make the NIM-SIM verification exercise open without setting any deadline date.
Speaking with journalists on the matter, the President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMS), Deolu Ogunbanjo, while appreciating the Minister and the NIMC for the efforts so far, urged that the exercise should be open.
“The exercise should be continuous, no need of putting a deadline. I want to suggest that the 774 Local Government Areas should have a database for registration, especially for new births, which would now be transmitted to NIMC for proper processing.
“Also, going by the technical hitches the NIMC portal suffered some weeks back, it is another justification to make the process open for open and jettison today’s deadline or any other.”
By Adeyemi Adepetun, Assistant Editor, ComTech