Nigerians have urged the Federal Government to extend the deadline for the registration for the National Identification Number.
In a poll conducted on PUNCH‘s social media pages, 85.9 per cent of respondents across our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages voted in support of the extension.
On Twitter, 89 per cent of the 8324 votes were in favour of an extension. The same was the case on our Instagram Stories, which was seen by 3296 users.
However, the percentage of respondents who voted in support of an extension was lower on Facebook at 79.8 per cent. Number of respondents was 1000.
The Federal government had on December 15, 2020 declared that all SIMs that were not registered with valid NIN on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked after December 30, 2020.
However, following public outcry against the short notice, it later extended the deadline, giving 3 weeks’ extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020, to January 19, 2021, and a 6-week extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020, to February 9, 2021.
The timing of the NIN registration amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has left many Nigerians and other stakeholders faulting the Federal Government’s decision to embark on the exercise now.
Crowds at the registration centres of the National Identity Management Commission have also left many fearing a surge in the cases of COVID-19 in the country.
One of the respondents, Erhiyoma Maxwell said, “If they are really concerned about the spread of Covid19, then the date should be shifted to avoid rush and over crowding.”
Another respondent, Akeem Emmanuel tweeted, “It should be extended indefinitely.”
A Twitter user, Clinton Chidiebere agreed with Emmanuel, as he tweeted, “There shouldn’t be deadline in the first place.”
Meanwhile, following the large crowds that besiege its state offices in Lagos and Abuja, NIMC has released a list of over 50 NIN enrolment centres in the two cities.
According to NIMC Spokesman, Kayode Adegoke, the decentralisation will help decongest the large gatherings at the state offices in the two cities as well as make the NIN registration process faster and easier for applicants.