The new directive by the federal government mandating all network subscribers across the country to sync their SIM cards to the National Identification Number (NIN) has continued to generate reactions among Nigerians.
Despite the appeal by the government and its agencies including the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) and the ministry of communication and digital economy, many Nigerians are yet to enroll for the NIN two weeks before the deadline.
Legit.ng's investigation reveals that many Nigerians have not registered due to fear of being infected with the coronavirus pandemic as a result of long queues with no regard for social distancing.
In this analysis, Legit.ng’s regional reporter in Osun state, Sola Adetona, writes about people’s plights in their efforts to get NIN registration before the February 9, deadline given by the federal government finally elapses.
According to some Nigerians, the registration exercise is untimely, unreasonable, and lacks consideration for their health as the results show a hike in COVID-19 cases across the country.
Legit.ng recalls that Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC director of public affairs, on Tuesday, December 15, in a statement in Abuja announced that Nigerians must update and link their data with telecoms companies with NIN.
Adinde said the new rule applies to new SIM cards, stressing that the SIMs not linked with NIN would be disconnected in two weeks' time.
In his encounter with Legit.ng, a network subscriber, Victor Akindele, described the directive as insensitive and callous.
"We already have BVN, driver's license, international passport, voters card and other national ID, this isnt still enough for the government to get our information? Now they are asking us to provide NIN.
"I genuinely look forward to the day that every Nigerian can get the simple things like a passport, a drivers license, National ID card etc without knowing someone on the inside or greasing any palms. No stress /waiting for months."
Another subscriber, Adejoke Ige, said that it is a known fact that the COVID-19 is ravaging the whole world including Nigeria, saying that the government does not appreciate the people's lives for introducing the exercise now.
“This exercise should be suspended indefinitely till when the country is free from the virus, adding that people's lives are more important than the NIN registration.
“They are doing the right thing through the wrong way and timing, considering the prevalence of the deadly COVID-19 in the country. They should in the interest of the masses shift this exercise to a much better time.
“Although the NIN registration is okay because it will help Nigeria to have a database just like the West, but this is a wrong timing considering the coronavirus pandemic."
In her reaction, Adewole Kolapo said that the Nigerian government is all aware of the impact of the coronavirus and the number of people dying on a daily basis before it mandated that people should enrol for NIN.
“What is the essence of applying for the National Identification Card and one couldn't get it since 2019. Now you want us to go and line up under the sun for the registration of NIN when you know and claimed that there is covid-19 in Nigeria."
Legit.ng recalls that hundreds of residents of Kubwa area of Abuja, the nation's capital were frustrated on Wednesday, January 20, at the registration centre for the National Identification Number (NIN) after officials failed to show up for the exercise.
It was reported that the residents had turned up at the centre in a scramble to get the number and beat the deadline set by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for SIM cards to be linked with NIN.
The federal government is, therefore, advised to take people's health a priority and order the immediate suspension of the exercise till further notice.
NIMC: Amidst Covid19 spike, crowd gathers for NIN registration | - on Legit TV