The story the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, told the nation was that 173 private companies and 30 government agencies had been hired to handle enrolment and data capturing in order to ensure seamless registration of Nigerians for the National Identity Number. That was why he ordered mobile phone companies to block subscribers who fail to link their NINs to their telephone lines within two weeks. It was later extended to six weeks.
As at the time of going to press, not even one of the hired companies and government agencies had commenced NIN registration. Pantami’s declaration is a ruse. The truth is that the 173 private companies and 30 government agencies are still struggling to set up structures for NIN enrolment and data capturing. So, why tell Nigerians lies about their readiness for the job? This man called Pantami is a tragedy. In sane societies, he would have been sacked.
For now, only the incompetent National Identity Management Company, NIMC, is offering NIN registration services. This is why its offices nationwide are thronged by thousands of exasperated Nigerians. Of course, the useless NIMC cannot register over 160 million telecom subscribers within six weeks. No such magic can be done. So, telling subscribers to add valid NINs to SIM records within six weeks is ludicrous. For how long must this coldblooded and disgusting government continue to inflict pains on Nigerians? Linking NINs to phone numbers is unnecessary duplication. The same finger prints/personal details already exist in the SIM registration we did with the telecoms providers.