By Lukman Olabiyi
Desperation to meet the ultimatum issued by the Federal Government for citizens to obtain National Identity Number (NIN) or have their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) blocked has made many to flout COVID-19 protocols at the office of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Lagos.
The office, located along Awolowo Way, Ikeja, close to the state’s secretariat in Alausa, was invaded by a huge crowd, yesterday, in a bid to register and obtain NIN. The development came days after the Nigerian Communication Commission ordered telecommunications companies to, within two weeks, suspend phone subscribers who have no NIN.
Currently, only about 41.5 million Nigerians out of an estimated 198 million active phone subscribers have NIN.
Most of the people, who gathered at the NIMC office in Alausa, were either not wearing face masks or not observing physical distancing, thereby flouting the protocols put in place by the government in a bid to tackle the spread of COVID-19 which has been on the increase in the last one week.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who has also been infected with COVID-19, last Friday, banned large gathering, ordered the closure of schools, clubs and other places which could attract large crowd.
Several concerned Nigerians had expressed concern over the sudden directive of the Federal Government and had asked that the deadline be extended.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project described the order as an abuse of human rights and threatened to sue the Federal Government within seven days if it failed to rescind the directive.