Long Queues and Extortion at NIN Centers in Lagos as Deadline Nears

With the impending February 28th deadline for the National Identity Number (NIN) and Subscribers Identification Number (SIM) linkage, lengthy queues have reappeared at NIN centers in Lagos. Reports indicate that agents at local government areas (LGAs) are demanding fees ranging from N5,000 to N8,000 from individuals seeking to avoid the extended waiting times.

A recent visit to some LGAs in Lagos revealed the return of crowds and instances of extortion, with individuals paying varying amounts for expedited registration services. For example, at Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Area (LCDA), women claimed to facilitate registrations without queuing for a fee of N8,000 per applicant. Residents confirmed such transactions, revealing instances where people paid the amount and were subsequently directed to the LCDA at Isheri for further processing.

Despite the payments, the queues persisted, and frustrations grew among those awaiting registration. Students, in particular, expressed concerns about meeting deadlines for exams, such as the WAEC registration cutoff on January 31, 2024. Some students complained about missing classes to register and urged the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to consider third-party agents to expedite the process.

While the NIMC has issued warnings against paying for NIN services and assured Nigerians of the ongoing revalidation exercise for third-party agents, challenges persist. The commission emphasizes the free nature of NIN and e-ID card services and advises the public to be wary of fraudulent social media accounts posing as official NIMC platforms. The revalidation exercise aims to uphold data security standards and compliance, with the commission deploying resources to ensure a swift conclusion. Despite the inconveniences reported, NIN enrollment and other services continue at NIMC centers nationwide.

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