The World Bank has provided protective equipment against COVID-19 worth £172m to the National Identification Management Commission to assist the NIMC as it carries out enrolments for National Identification Numbers across the country.
Large crowds of Nigerians had greeted the offices of the NIMC, particularly in Abuja and Lagos in a bid to get their NINs, while others had stormed the website of the commission, which warranted a crash of the NIMC’s website, nimc.gov.ng.
The Federal Government had declared on December 15, 2020 that after December 30, all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked.
On Monday it extended the December 30, 2020 deadline following widespread opposition against the earlier announcement, as it gave three weeks extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020 to January 19, 2021
It also gave six weeks extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020 to February 9, 2021.
Director-General, NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, told our correspondent that the crowds were difficult to control, admitting that massive traffic on the commission’s website led to its crash recently, but noted that the site was being worked on.
He stated noted that to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus through the massive crowds showing up at NIMC offices, the World Bank had to support the commission’s work with protective equipment.
Aziz said, “As much as possible, we shall follow the safety rules. Luckily, we had the World Bank’s support, as it bought a lot of sanitisers, face masks and everything that is required for our work worth more than £172m.
“The items are to be distributed to all our offices and so we have the safety kits but we have to follow the rules.”
On whether all staff of the commission were going to work considering the directive by government limiting the number of workers allowed to work as a measure against COVID-19 spread, Aziz said the NIMC would obey laid down rules.
He said, “We provide essential service but the truth is that we have to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols.
“We should make sure that we limit the number of workers and ensure that they do shifts.
“But since there is no total lockdown, we will not lockdown our services totally.”
He further stated that the crash of NIMC’s website was being addressed and urged Nigerians to exercise patience with the commission.