As the deadline of February 28th for the linkage of National Identity Number (NIN) with Subscribers Identification Number (SIM) approaches, lengthy queues have resurfaced at NIN centers in Lagos. Meanwhile, at local government areas (LGAs), agents are reportedly demanding amounts ranging from N5,000 to N8,000 from individuals unwilling to endure the long queues.
A recent visit by LEADERSHIP to several LGAs in Lagos revealed the return of large crowds and instances of extortion, with fees ranging between N5,000 and N8,000 per applicant for the service.
In Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Area (LCDA), for instance, correspondents encountered women offering to facilitate NIN registration without the need to join the queue for a fee of N8,000. Residents confirmed that these women collected the fee from multiple individuals and directed them to the LCDA at Isheri for registration.
Upon reaching Isheri, it was observed that a substantial crowd, including those who had paid N8,000, was waiting for registration. Frustration grew among residents who had paid agents but were yet to be attended to.
Similar conditions were noted in Kosofe LGA, affecting students who expressed concerns about their inability to register for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) as NIN is a prerequisite for registration.
A student from Ojota Secondary School highlighted the challenges faced, including the need to skip classes to register. The student urged the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to allow third-party agents to expedite the process to alleviate the difficulties faced by students.
In response to these issues, NIMC had previously issued a warning against making payments to obtain a NIN or e-ID card, emphasizing that these services are free. The Commission also indicated that third-party agents must revalidate their licenses to uphold data security and compliance standards.
Despite the challenges, NIMC assured Nigerians that the revalidation exercise would be swiftly concluded, and it apologized for any inconvenience encountered at Front End Partner (FEP) centers during the process. The commission reiterated its commitment to providing contactless solutions for those in the diaspora.