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FG mulls NIN suspension after exposing Nigerians to COVID-19

Thirty-four Nigerians have died of COVID-19 in the last five days


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THE federal government is considering suspending nationwide NIN registration owing to the surging crowd besieging designated centres, minister of state for health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, said on Monday, during an interview on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily.

But this is considered too little, too late, as it is coming weeks after exposing many Nigerians to the possibility of contracting COVID-19 in a programme considered as a poorly thought-out project.

“My understanding is that the whole process may be suspended so as to reorder the whole process in terms of management of the crowd because it was never intended that it would become a rowdy process like that,” Mamora, who is also a member of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said.

“So, people may have to wait and be called at intervals to go through the process,” he further said.

He noted that the NIN registration was becoming a super spreader event, which could worsen Nigeria’s COVID-19 status.

“I am also aware that the relevant ministry, which is the Communications and Digital Economy, is looking at this,” he further said.

Mamora said the government had a duty to protect Nigerians at all times, urging the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to re-order the enrolment process to avoid large crowds at NIN registration centres nationwide.

“We have a duty to ensure that people comply within the limit of what is good for the society at large,” he noted.

For fear of being disconnected by telecoms firms and network operators, Nigerians have besieged NIN registration centres across the country, flouting COVID-19 protocol set by the Nigeria’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation.

Frank Umeh, a social and political analyst, blamed the federal government for allowing the registration to go ahead when the number of COVID-19 infections was on the rise.

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“Should they have started the project in the first place?” he asked.

“You are in a second wave of COVID-19. More than 30 persons have died in the last five days in the country, and more could still die. Why must you suddenly wake up and realise this truth? Even at that, do not be surprised that the minister is simply giving his own opinion and is not backed by other ministers or the ministries involved in the registration process,” he noted

Infections, deaths

Thirty-four Nigerians have died of COVID-19 in the last five days, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria between January 6 and 9 surpassed 1,500 in each of the four days, indicating that the virus is spreading fast in Africa’s most populous nation.

Nigeria reported its ever highest number of cases on January 6 when 1,664 persons tested positive for the virus, according to the NCDC.

On January 7, the number of new infections was estimated at 1,565. The following day, January 8, the NCDC reported 1,544 new cases. On January 9, the number of new infections was estimated at 1,585.

Read Also: NIN: FG orders investigation into allegations of extortion, insists registration is free

However, the number of COVID-19 cases and the mortality rate in Nigeria are still lower compared with the infections and deaths in Europe and the United States. Africa’s most populous nation has tested only 1.025 million people till date, which is merely 0.51 percent of the population. With 100, 087 positive cases reported so far, 1,358 residents have died since the first case in late March 2020.    This puts death-to-infection rate at 1.36 percent. The number of discharged persons so far is estimated at 80,030, putting discharge rate at 80 percent, according to The ICIR’s calculations.

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