NIN: Nigerians Lament Persistent Extortion Of Applicants By NIMC Officials

Public Conscience on Radio. Supported By MacArthur Foundation

More Nigerians seeking to enroll in the National Identification Number (NIN) have decried pervasive extortion by officials of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) at the enrollment centers across as the Federal Government agencies have been asked to synergize and build a one-stop data collection approach in the country.

It will be recalled that the same alarm was raised by Nigerians a fortnight ago following an investigative report published by The NewsGuru Newspapers which indicted NIMC staff and officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) of colluding to rip-off passport applicants who have challenge updating their information at NIN enrollment center located in the premises of NIS Headquarters, Abuja.
Some other Nigerians on Wednesday revealed that they were extorted by NIMC officials.
They made their frustrations and lamentations known during an anti-corruption radio program, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE on RADIO, produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Speaking during the Program, Programme Manager at Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Salaudeen Hashima said it was long overdue for Nigeria to have a unified identity database, noting that it will go a long way to reduce extortion of NIN applicants and tackle growing insecurity in Nigeria which is aided by corruption.
According to Hashima, the consequence of running a country with a corruption-ridden identification system is the persistent influx of unidentified foreigners into Nigeria.
He added that the outsourcing of the identity enrollment program by NIMC was fueling corruption in the process.
He stressed that Nigeria has weak sanctions for those who are actually caught in the web of corruption, “remember that NIN is just a classical example of other expose we have also witnessed in Nigeria in the past.
“If you go to the Northeastern and some parts of the Northwestern Nigeria, where states share border towns, you’ll find out that Immigration’s officers have also made it an enterprise to open a business around those who come in and go out and if you are not able to flag a national identity, you will pay a minimum of N1,000; and that is another means of extortion and exploitation,” Hashima said.
Citizens that called into the programme shared some of their experience at NIN enrollment centers and disclosed how much NIMC officials asked them to pay.
A man who identified himself as Onoja said, “there is no registration center you will go without paying, they (NIMC) are aware of it. When we investigated with one of the private detectives, we report it to the NIN and then they told us that they gave it to the company and then the company has to get money from the public,” He said.
Alex from Abacha Barracks said, “In Niger State, I was asked to pay N300 to enroll and my friend who wanted to update NIN was charged N15,000.”
Lawrence from Masaka, Nasarawa State: “In Masaka when I want to register, I was asked to pay N1000 which I paid and up till now I did not get my NIN since February.”
Abraham from Mararaba, Nasarawa State: “The system of NIN is a big corruption in Nigeria, let me give you an example in Kabba, if you go to register NIN they will tell you to bring N2000, it was later changed to N3000.”
Christy from Mpape, Abuja: “The last time I went for the NIN registration they were asking me for N300 before I register, I know that the N300 is nothing for me but I believe that Nigerians are not supposed to pay to get NIN.”
Following the complaints, PRIMORG’s Program Manager, Adaobi Obiabunmuo revealed that NIMC management failed to honour PRIMORG’s invitation to come on the programme and inform the general public on how to avoid extortion by its staff.
Obiabunmuo further reassured Nigerians that PRIMORG will continue to make efforts in seeing that citizens having challenges with NIN enrollment are assisted to make open their complaints and get them resolved, as well as tackle extortion of innocent Nigerians by corrupt NIMC officials.

Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program used by PRIMORG to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.
The program is supported by the MacArthur Foundation.

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