By Abiodun Abobarin and Moses Adeniyi
Controversies have trailed the on-going National Identity Number (NIN) enrollment as the crash exercise has generated reactions from Nigerians over the hardship many are facing in various centres across the country.
According to investigation carried out by Nigerian NewsDirect on some centres, it was gathered that the process have left many frustrated with the untoward hardship applicants are made to pass through.
Information gathered has revealed that officials of the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC) and security agents among other concerned personnel have been making the process hell for majority who are in dare need of the registration by extorting them through bribes.
It has been gathered that in some enrollment centres the officials only attend and give priority to applicants who give them bribe.
According to findings, it was revealed that in some enrollment centres there are stipulated amount officials of the NIMC demand from applicants before they can process their registration.
It was also gathered that in some centres, NIMC officials work in collaboration with security personnel and other agents to perpetuate the illicit act.
Our correspondent who visited the NIMC Centre in Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu Campus gathered that the NIMC officials at the centre are on the demand of N3000 in attending to applicants.
It was gathered that those who pay the sum are attended to with priority while those who do not give the N3000 bribe frustratingly wait perpetually.
Further information gathered last week during a visit to the centre revealed that a Private Security Operative, addressed as Abbey, a personnel of the Kramol Tee Security Service Limited, was an accomplice of the NIMC officials assisting them in collecting bribes from applicants and assuring them of quick attention.
A source who gave his name as Pablo lamented to Nigerian NewsDirect that he has been frustrated with the process having decided not to patronise the officials with bribe..
“NIMC representatives are giving us issues on the National ID card registration. In view of that, we decided to sleep in the center tonight so as to get the best number on the list”, he said.
Another source who spoke to Nigerian NewsDirect lamented that he has frustrated from having the registration done since two Fridays’ back he had being approaching the NIMC Centre.
Lamenting his ordeal, a source, who gave his name as Raymond, at one of the enrollment centres said “last week some people have to buy petrol to refill the generator when it went off because it wants to be a chance of excuse for them to stop the registration for the day.”
The situation at the NIMC centre at Alausa ikeja is no more better as NIMC officials and Security agents of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) are joint perpetrators of the misguided act.
At the NIMC Centre located in the Defense office at Alausa, it was gathered that men of NSCDC are pushers of bribery to quick registration.
Applicants who cannot bear the rigors of waiting and returning day after day succumb to giving money to men of NSCDC around to help them expedite the process.
Information gathered revealed that specific men of the Defense in the arena have had arrangements with the NIMC officials at the centre to expedite registration for those who patronise them in payment.
It was gathered the amount collected from frustrated candidates are sometimes negotiable based on ability to pay.
A source who spoke with NewsDirect said, “As you can see there are a lot of crowd here. What you can do if you want to fast track your registration is if you find one of the NSCDC men around and pay them to help you out quickly.”
Another source, lamenting her ordeal to Nigerian NewsDirect, said that the frustrating process made her to leave Abuja to Lagos to have the enrollment effected.
“I don’t know what this Country is turning into. I came all the way from Abuja just because of this. The process is something else.
“You can imagine the kind of suffering they are making people to pass through. Is there not a better way they can arrange this for people’s convenience?”, she questioned.
In the NIMC centre at the Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area, the situation is no less messy.
Intending applicants who spoke to Nigerian NewsDirect expressed frustration over the hardship they have been made to pass through to have the enrollment affected.
A source who spoke to Nigerian NewsDirect said, “I was here before 5:00am this morning, yet I’m told I have to come as early as possible next week Monday before I can have my name on the list of those who will be attended to next week.”
Reports gathered from other States further revealed that similar hardship are been experienced in the enrollment process.
It was gathered that in densely populated areas across various States, the enrollment process has been tough on applicants particularly with the new development that requires students seeking admission to have the National Identity Number as a criteria.
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had earlier in September this year, called on all prospective candidates for the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to enroll for the National Identification Number (NIN).
Following the development, JAMB had disclosed that the aim was to ensure the biometric and other necessary details of a candidate were captured, to check against examination malpractice.
The examination board further stressed that the call was necessary with the commencement of registration for the 2020 UTME.
It would be recalled that September last year the Federal Government had approved the mandatory use of the national identity number beginning January 1 , 2019.
In relation to the development, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the immediate commencement of the implementation of a strategic roadmap for Digital Identity Ecosystem in Nigeria at its meeting, held on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018.
The resolution of the FEC meeting which was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, on the approval of the Identity
Ecosystem is expected, as resolved, to bring into full force the implementation of the provisions of the NIMC Act 23, 2007, which include the enforcement of the mandatory use of the National Identification Number by January 1, 2019 and the application of appropriate sanctions and penalties on defaulters as provided under Section 28 of the NIMC Act and Regulations.
It was disclosed that the project falls in line with the Federal Government’s efforts to reposition the country’s status in the global economy, towards achieving the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan launched in April 2017.
The Director – General /CEO of NIMC, Aliyu Azizas had then alluded that the ERGP is “an omnibus strategy for the government to meet the critical needs of the citizenry in areas such as food security, energy, transport, human capital development, but more critically developing a local digital economy.”
Recall also that the Federal Government in a recent development had ordered that SIM card registration and issuance of international passports, must be linked to National Identity Number (NIN).
The Federal Government’s order made it mandatory for all Nigerians seeking to apply for a new SIM card and for issuance/re-issuance of international passports to register with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) first to obtain a NIN before they could proceed.
It was alluded that the directive was part of efforts “towards engendering the security of lives and property for the economic development of the country.”