Nigerians blame NIN registration for increase in COVID-19 cases in country

… Call for suspension of registration at enrollment centres

By Chioma Obinagwam

Some Nigerians have attributed the recent rising incidence of COVID-19 in the country to the large crowd that assembles at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) enrollment centers in various parts of the country in defiance of COVID-19 protocol for the purpose of National Identity Number (NIN) registration.

Confiance News gathered from Twitter on Tuesday.

Confiance News recalls that the exercise became imperative following the directive by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to all mobile network operators to deactivate all SIM cards that will not be duly registered with valid national identity card.

The NIN-SIM integration which began on December 16, 2020 with an initial deadline of December 30, 2020 despite being extended to three weeks for subscribers with NIN from 30th December, 2020 to 19th January, 2021 and six weeks for subscribers without NIN from 30th December, 2020 to 9th February, 2021, has sparked panic among Nigerians.

Moreover, the insisence by NIMC that Nigerians must complete the NIN registration in person, even if their Bank Verification Number (BVN) has generated the identity number has resulted in dozens of Nigerians thronging the NIN enrollment centers nationwide to comply with the registration exercise.

This, however, has caused stir on social media as to the effect of the large gatherings on the spread of the virus.

Reacting, Festus Ogun, a Twitter user lamented, “The NIN policy is a deliberate attempt to ensure the widespread of coronavirus by the satanic regime of President Buhari. The height of heartlessness and insensitivity.”

Corroborating, another Twitter user known as Uneku “Clark Kent” 20/10/20 said,
“One thing the govt won’t tell you about the rise in Covid-19 cases in Nigeria is that the rush for NIN registration occasion by the deadline imposed by minister of digital economy is the major cause of rising cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria.

A Twitter user known as Dr. Harvey Olufunmilayo said,
“Yesterday Lagos Govt announced a closedown of Meiran Primary Health Centre due to health workers getting overwhelmed with Covid19.
Today, Lagosians have been in Alausa NIMC Centre since 5am trying to get NIN.
For God’s sake, what kind of madness is this? What is this insanity?”

Also on the issue, chijiоke, Ph.D., Nuclear Engineering(Affidavit) quoted Prof. Kingsley Moghalu- Young Progressive Party (YPP) presidential candidate for the 2019 presidential elections,
”it is not sensible to force millions of Nigerians to obtain NIN registration in the middle of a massive pandemic as people are massing at various centres, super spreading COVID-19.”

Confiance News also learnt from a tweet on the official Twitter handle of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Tuesday that average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the first week of January 2021, was higher than what was recorded in last week of December 2020.

Worse still, as at Monday, January 11, 2021, there were already 1,244 new cases of coronavirus according to data mined from the NCDC official Twitter handle.

Thus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases of the virus to 101,331.

In order to contain the spread of COVID-19, well meaning Nigerians have called on the government to halt the physical registration of NIN at enrollment centres and seek on-line alternatives.


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