By Our Correspondents
Nigerians have continued to decry their extortion by officials of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and some of its licenced partners in their attempt to enroll for the National Identification Number.
Respondents said they are made to part with between N1,000 and N5,000 to get registered, a process that is free of charge.
A visit to Port Harcourt and other National Identity Number (NIM) registration centres showed that monies exchange hands before an enroller could be attended to.
LEADERSHIP observed that, at the NIMC office located along Aba Road, Port Harcourt, some young boys and girls hang outside the gate with a promise to assist people to get enrolled fast if they can part with between N500 and 1,000.
It was the same at the NIN registration centre at the Port Harcourt City local government secretariat. Here, forms are sold outside the council secretary for 500 while one must part with at least 1,000 before they could be attended to at the registration centre.
When asked why they collect money before registering someone, a NIMC female official said: “Oga, that is how it is here, you pick the form outside the gate, fill it before coming inside.
“We decided to be charging people money to register them expressly because that is the only way we can benefit during this registration period. So, if you have your 1,000, bring it or you shift. I have a lot of people to attend to.” Plateau State
In Jos, following the extension of NIN registration in the country, our correspondent learnt that some private organisations were granted licence to carry out registration to alleviate the suffering of the people.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that officials of those private organisations who were given licence to operate move from church to church, and from school to school to arrange with the management to register their students or members of the church on the payment of N1000.
In most of the churches, the pastor will announce to the congregation that anybody who is yet to register for NIN should make himself available for the registration on the payment of N1000. It was further gathered that the money is meant for logistics.
In Imo State, the scramble by residents, especially those in Owerri to obtain the National Identity Number is a herculean task.
The office of the NIMC situated on the ever busy Owerri- Port-Harcourt road adjacent the federal secretariat is usually saturated with members of the public anxious to obtain the National Identity cards.
Curiously, the officials of the commission who are expected to issue the cards according to established processes are capitalising on the rowdy development to extort money from the people.
The bribes which are brazenly demanded range from N2,000 to N4,000 depending on how quick and urgent the fellow in question wants it. While those who do not want to join the long queue and are anxious to obtain the card in less than an hour are forced to cough out N2,000, those who want to obtain it through the officials without visiting the Commission’s office are asked to pay N4,000 or more.
This is in spite of the outcry that trails the slow pace of the commission. Again, at designated centres by the commission to perform the functions within the Owerri Municipal Council and its various 27 council headquarters of the state, people gather in large numbers and pay between N1,000 to N1,500 for the all-important document.
In Calabar, Cross River State, when our correspondent visited one of the NIMC registration centres at Brotherhood Crescent, Ika Street, Mbukpa axis, Calabar South LGA, the operators of the centre demanded the sum of N200 as registration to enable enrollees obtain a bio-data form where the enrollee’s information would be entered. After filling the form, our correspondent was asked to pay the sum of N2000 before the the bio-data form was collected.
Subsequently, one of the officials said,”You can now go and come back in two days’ time.”
In Enugu, our correspondent who visited some of the registration centres observed that most of the centres, except the centre located at the headquarters of the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, and perhaps few others, were collecting money for what was described as “express”.
At the Shoprite shopping mall located at GRA, Enugu, some officials conducting the exercise were collecting N5,000 for express registration while those who could not afford the money were frustrated as the officials tactically refused to attend to them.
When our correspondent visited the Federal Secretariat, Independence Layout, Enugu, it was also discovered that those conducting the exercise were a little bit lenient as they collected fN5,000 from perceived affluent people while those perceived to be poor were asked to pay N2,000. one of the applicants for the NIN told our correspondent that he started appealing to the officials to attend to him since January this year and expressed dismay that all his pleas met brick walls.
” I have been coming since early this year. As you can see, the crowd is always too much. Each time I come, they will give one excuse or another but some will come just one day and give them money and they will give them NIN because they paid for express. I’m calling on the government to investigate these people. As I’m talking to you, they have refused to attend to me” , the applicant who did not disclose his identity said.
In Benue State ,one of the staff of the NIMC who does not want his name in print lamented the shortage of required equipment for the registration of the enrollees.
In an interview, one of the enrollees, Terkumbur Nenger, said she has been at the centre for two days without success. But Iordye Chiaangi, who had completed his own, said, “I don’t want to waste time there, so I gave N1,500 to one of the staff and he helped me sharp , sharp.”
Our correspondent observed that persons with the issue of re-printing of the temporal NIN registration cards were paying N1,000 each for reprinting, while those who did not want to waste time were paying N1,000. LEADERSHIP reports that recently, the director-general/CEO of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu Aziz, in a statement issued to newsman by his head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Kayode Adegoke, in Abuja, said the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Ali Isa Ibrahim (Pantami) had directed the immediate suspension of staff involved in extortion of applicants at the NIMC offices across the country He said, “Enrolment for the National Identification Number (NIN) is free of charge, and on no occasion should anyone pay to obtain an enrolment form or to have their biometrics captured. All personnel involved in the enrolment and NIN issuance exercise must carry out their respective duties professionally.”
fairly and with integrity.”