NIMC suffers network delay amid race to meet SIM/NIN deadline
The National Identity Management Commission is currently facing a network delay which has slowed down the generation of National Identity Numbers even as the deadline for customers to link their SIM to their NINs draws closer.
The PUNCH learnt that while newly registered customers usually obtained their NIN within a day or two in the past, some now have to wait for as long as a week in order to generate their NIN.
Customers without NINs or those who have failed to link their NIN to their telephone lines will not be barred from using their telephone lines from October 31, 2021.
A top source at NIMC said, “You can still register for the NIN as a new customer but you cannot generate NIN as quickly as you could in the past. This is because of the rush for registration and the pressure on our system.”
Explaining how the process of registration works, the official added, “When you complete your registration, the information is stored at the back end. Then it goes through a process known as deduplication. The deduplication will ensure that your biometric data is not the same as any other person’s own.
“If you are changing your name or editing your data like age, then you have to pay. But the process of updating your data or even registering now takes as much as a week. In fact, my wife has not been able to obtain her passport for the last three weeks because the data has not been dropped for immigration to pick.
“All these are happening because of the rush on the system. It is overwhelming and some expatriates have been coming to look at it but the problem is funding.”
Efforts to get NIMC Spokesperson, Kayode Adegoke, were unsuccessful, as he nether picked his calls nor replied to the text sent to him by our correspondent.
Meanwhile, indications have emerged that millions of subscribers may be at risk of disenfranchisement three days to the October 31 deadline set by the Nigerian Communications Commission for subscribers to link their Subscriber Identity Module to their National Identity Numbers.
According to a source in the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, only about 70 million SIMs have been verified to their respective NIN.
The source said the verification exercise was being slowed down by the National Identity Management Commission.
The source added that the decision to extend the deadline was in the hands of the minister of communications and digital economy.
The source said, “We have not had any meetings. The decision will be from the minister. We send our observations; it is left to the government to decide.
“In our letter, we told the government that there has not been significant enrollment. Enrolment is slow, we hope the government will consider the extension so that a lot of people won’t be disenfranchised. In the month of September, only 6.2 million subscribers that submitted their NINs were completely verified. About 104 million people have successfully submitted their NINs for verification.
“This statistic shows that very marginal progress has been made. In total, about 70 million SIMS have been successfully linked to their NINs. So, there is a shortfall of about 117 million subscribers in general.
“The verification process at NIMC is so slow. We also wrote that the government should release more funds to NIMC although the Federal Government has approved some sort of monetary support.”
Recent industry statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission disclosed that the total number of subscribers in Nigeria grew to 190,854,069 in September.
Recall that the deadline for the SIM-NIN linkage has been extended multiple times. However, the NCC has urged Nigerians to take this extension deadline seriously.
Speaking during a recent live programme, Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Ikechukwu Adinde urged Nigerians to make use of the extension of the NIN-SIM integration exercise to October 31, 2021, to enroll with NIMC, get their NINs and link them to their SIMs. He hinted that by the time the extension elapsed, Nigerians might be denied access to necessary services including acquisition of driving licence, passport, without NIN.
The spokesperson of the National Identity Management Commission, Kayode Adegoke told our correspondent that the institution was likely to reach a decision whether or not to extend the deadline for the SIM-NIN linkage on Thursday.
As at the time of filing this report, a decision had not been made. In a recent interview with our correspondent, the President of National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, said the association wanted the FG to extend the deadline of the SIM-NIN exercise for two months.