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Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission has said correction of details in the National Identity Number (NIN) will attract varying charges.
The NIMC Regional Coordinator, Funmi Opesanwo, stated this on Wednesday at the commission’s office in the Alausa area of Lagos State, South West, Nigeria.
Opesanwo said there are different services that the commission offers, noting that NIN enrolment is free but there are fees attached to card renewal, correction of date of birth, and change of address.
According to her, “The money we charge is for modification For the date of birth correction, the processing fee is N15,000. For card renewal or card replacement, there is a processing fee of N5,000. For a modification of your name and address, there is a fee of N500?
She noted that the fees “are for services and things to be corrected. They are payable to the Treasury Single Account ,TSA, of the Federal Government and not anybody. So, people misconstrue this to mean that its NIMC that is asking them to pay money. No, those are for services.”
NIMC regional coordinator’s explanation was in response to allegations that officials of the commission have been demanding illegal fees from Nigerians to link their NIN to their SIM cards.
Recall that Nigerian government through the Nigerian Communication Commission in December ordered telecommunications companies to deactivate telephone lines of subscribers who failed to link their phones to their National Identity Number.
The directive has since sparked an outrage amongst Nigerians who argue that government agencies can retrieve their information on other data platform to update their SIM card registration.
Currently, Nigeria has multiple citizen’s collection data platforms – the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN), National Identification Numbers (NIN), passport, driver’s license, SIM card registration and voters’ card all having the same information of individuals.
The Nigerian government has said telecom service providers who fail to block SIM cards unregistered with NIN after the two-weeks risk withdrawal of their operational license.
“The submission of NIN by subscribers to take place within two weeks (from today December 16, 2020 and end by 30 December, 2020),” NCC Director of Public Affairs Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde said in a statement.
The ultimatum has since been extended by up to six weeks, from December 30 to Feburary 9, 2021, and cancelled the use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) charges for verification across the country.
Despite the extension, many Nigerians lament the strenuous procedure in trying to link their SIM cards to their NIN as well as those applying for fresh registration.
This has led to the violation of COVID-19 protocols of social distancing as thousands continue to besiege registration centres in the country.
Opensanwo attributed the increase in applicants to telecommunication companies’ decision to block SIM cards of people whose NIN is not linked to their numbers.
“Yesterday we did not experience what we’re experiencing today,” Opensanwo said. “The fillers we got is that most of the applicants’ numbers were being blocked.”
She said the commission is “trying to manage the situation” of overcrowding at many of the registration centres.