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By Emma Okoji
The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) yesterday said the enrolment for the National Identification Number is free.
The NIMC also warned those cashing in amid the ongoing NIN registration nationwide to desist as they risk seven years in jail if caught.
The commission, in a notice posted on its social media platforms yesterday, encouraged Nigerians to report cases of extortion for onward prosecution.
The notice titled, ‘NIN Enrolment Is Free’, read, “The punishment for extortion if convicted is seven years imprisonment as stipulated in sections 14, 20, & 21, of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission Act and Sections 10 & 12 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.”
When contacted, NIMC spokesman, Kayode Adegoke, said the warning became pertinent amid complaints by applicants who accuse some staff of the commission and some third-party agents of extortion.
“The warning is strictly for members of staff not to extort applicants. NIN enrolment is free but people have been complaining of extortion and we have provided the lines for them to file in their evidence. The commission has zero-tolerance for extortion and according to the ICPC Act, anyone caught risks a jail term of seven years,” Adegoke said in a telephone interview with our correspondent yesterday.
The federal government through the Nigerian Communication Commission ordered telecommunications companies to deactivate telephone lines of subscribers who failed to link their phones to their National Identity Number.
Large crowd thronging the NIMC web portal for the process of obtaining their National Identity Number led to the crash of the portal last week.
Large crowds also resurfaced at NIMC centres nationwide this week after the Christmas break.
As of October, the total number of mobile network connections was 207.58 million, but currently, only 43 million Nigerians have NIN, thus 164 million telephone users are at the risk of being deactivated on January 19, 2021.