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Nigerian NIN registration halts as Covid scare triggers strike

photo credit: Premium Times

Barely a week after the initial proposed deadline for Nigerian mobile users to update their SIM registration records with their National Identity Number, employees of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) have embarked on an indefinite strike, starting from today, January 7th, 2020. 

President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, NIMC branch, Lucky Michael, explained in an official statement that the strike is due to unpaid salaries and Covid-prone working environment of the employees.

Punch revealed that members of the team are expected to report to their various duty posts and do nothing until they are provided with essential COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The commission noted that some of their staff members got exposed to COVID-19 and no adequate measures have been taken to stop the spread of the virus.

“Staff members were infected with COVID-19 and adequate measures have not been taken to curtail the spread. The meeting resolved that the safety of staff should be prioritized. Furthermore, the office environment should be fumigated immediately.”

TechCabal gathered that the commission had an agreement with the Federal government as regards funding and revaluation of their remuneration. 

A staff who works at their Surulere branch said there has been a series of violence following a massive crowd at the centre. 

“Everybody wants to get registered at the same time and this is due to the order from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC). We can’t control them.” 

However, a  registration officer who asked to be kept anonymous said they are not being owed by the government as opposed to the statement by the president of the Commission. He said the only reason registration is not currently on is because they are following orders from Abuja. 

As at the time of this report, all centres around Surulere and Yaba in Lagos are currently shut down. 

The NIMC workers are expected to still be on duty following the large number of Nigerians who are yet to obtain their National Identity Numbers and are at risk of being blocked by the Nigerian    Communication Commission (NCC).

On December 15th, 2020,  the NCC ordered the suspension of the registration of new SIM cards by all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country and later gave a new ruling that requires mobile network subscribers to provide National Identification Number (NIN) to update SIM registration records before December 30th the same year. 

According to the announcement, all SIMs without NIN will be blocked and any network operators who do not comply could lose their licenses.

Nigeria is not the only country where National Identity Number is mandated. In other African countries like Ghana, citizens are required to have their information with the National Identity Authority ( (NIA). Although the process of registration is almost the same in Ghana and Nigeria, where people go to registration centers to have their information manually inputted on a computer by an official, the process is less rigid in Ghana.

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