RESIDENTS of Abuja whose lines were disconnected by telecommunication service providers because they did not link their phone numbers with their National Identity Number (NIN) are having difficulties getting the NIN.
Scores of people who wanted to resolve issues concerning the NIN were stranded on Thursday when The ICIR reporter visited the Wuse Zone 3 office of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), located on the second floor of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), within the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC) building.
The people came for different issues bothering on the NIN from various parts of Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Some have never applied for the identity number. Some have applied but have only tracking numbers with which they can get their NIN through NIMC officials. Others complained that they could not use their NIN on more than a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card. Some others claimed their NIN could not link with their lines.
The ICIR’s reporter gathered that scores of the applicants had moved around different offices of the NIMC in Abuja and met a large crowd before deciding to remain at the Zone 3 office.
Some of the applicants told The ICIR that they have been coming to the Zone 3 office for at least two days without receiving attention.
“This is my second day here. I came here today by 8:09 am. The security guards have not allowed me to get to the NIMC office on the second floor. I cannot make a call with my phone. I registered in 2019, but I am yet to get the NIN. I only have my tracking number,” said Sunday Adejoh.
At different times, the angry crowd who converged outside the gate of the FRSC building threatened to beat up the commission’s officers who blocked them from coming into their premises because of their large number of people.
The Federal Character Commission and the FRSC share the same gate.
“You can see my baby and me. We have been here since morning. No one has attended to us. They said their machines were down. I was here with this child yesterday for over five hours. It was the same experience I had,” Blessing Umoren, whose line was blocked, said.
The applicants blamed the delay they encountered on the large crowd and the breakdown of NIMC’s equipment.
But The ICIR reporter noted that all soldiers, policemen and other security officers, including FRSC staff who came for the same issue, received attention in less than 15 minutes.
The soldiers and others walked through the scores of people who crowded the stairs leading to the commission’s office and got their NIN without much delay.
The ICIR’s noted that the NIMC officials allowed only people who had a special card given to them at the main gate. The officials locked the burglary proof leading to their offices, thus preventing anyone they did not allow from coming in.
Meanwhile, there were cases of pickpocketing among the crowd.
A middle-aged woman who said she came to get the NIN to enable her to do a welcome back for her lost SIM card eventually lost her phone to a pickpocket.
Besides, some touts claimed they worked for NIMC officials. The touts collected between N1,000 and N3,000 to help the applicants.
Efforts by The ICIR’s reporter to speak with the NIMC’s officials failed as they could not be reached because of the large crowd.
The Federal Government had, on Monday, directed telcos to ban all mobile phone lines not linked to the NIN.