The House of Representatives has ordered its committee on population to investigate the complaints from Nigerians about difficulty in obtaining the National Identity Number (NIN).
The House followed by tasking the government to synchronise data collected from various data collecting agencies to provide unique national identity for every citizen of the country.
These decisions were made on Wednesday following a motion of urgent public importance moved by Ben Igbakpa (PDP, Delta), who raised concerns about NIN being a prerequisite for the 2020 Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) scholarship.
He said the registration process for NIN “laborious and slow nationwide,” attributing this to inadequate facilities and manpower.
“The Director-General of NIMC, Aliyu Azeez, recently admitted in a national daily that they are overwhelmed with work because, whereas they need about 4,000 centres nationwide, they make do with only 1,000 centres at the moment.”
The lawmaker added that registration closes in a fortnight and making NIN a prerequisite for the Masters and PhD degrees scholarship would undermine efforts at developing the nation’s human capital development.
“The motion is about trying to save our manpower; NIN, as a prerequisite for PTDF scholarship, should not be supported and I urge the house to use other (officially) recognised means of identification.”
On that note, the House resolved that instead of NIN alone, applicants can tender their local government certificate as proof of citizenship to obtain the scholarship.
In reference to National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, said there is a need to investigate why there are complaints about the unique number.
Relaying his experience, he said attempts by him to renew his slip has proved abortive. This he said means “someone is not doing their job and we have to investigate why it is difficult for Nigerians to register”.
On her part, Deputy Chief Whip, Onyejeocha Nkeiruka (APC, Abia), said the House’s investigation on NIMC was imperative because the nation cannot continue to suspend NIN as the slightest need for it.
“We have to go beyond suspending the use of NIN because the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) recently also had to suspend the requirement of NIN for registration of exams,” she noted.
Series of challenges have dogged the operations of NIMC. A 2017 investigation revealed that these challenges range from extortion of members of the public to blackouts at enrolment centres to staff apathy and a budget which caters for frivolous needs at the expense of vital ones.
As of October last year, the commission said only 19 per cent of Nigerians had registered.
Some Nigerians who have been rattled by the registration process have often taken their displeasure to the social media.
The commission’s latest registration of heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua particularly brought to fore some of these complaints.
Some believed Mr Joshua’s status gave him an edge above them. They complained that they had applied long ago without getting their slips.
Read some of their tweets below: