In a bid to beat the deadline for the Federal Government-ordered National Identity Number, thousands of Nigerians thronged National Identity Management Commission registration centres in disregard for coronavirus protocols.
The PUNCH reports that the Federal Government had declared on December 15, 2020, that after December 30, 2020, all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked.
But on Monday, December 21, 2020, it extended the December 30, 2020 deadline following widespread opposition against the earlier announcement.
The government 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.
According to the NIMC, as of October, the total number of mobile network connections was 207.58 million, but currently, only 43 million Nigerians have NIN, thus 164 million telephone users are at the risk of being deactivated on December 31.
Amidst the rush to get registered, a viral message circulating on social media claims that those who had registered for Bank Verification Number already have NIN. Thus, they do not need to register for NIN.
“Good news: So many Nigerians have NIN and they are unaware. The truth is that everyone that did their BVN when it was introduced in 2014 has NIN automatically assigned to them.
“Just dial *346# with the same number you registered for BVN and retrieve your NIN. Don’t go to NIMC centres to queue, Covid19 is real,” the message read.
A screenshot of the message being circulated on social media
However, efforts by our correspondent to obtain a NIN following the procedure contained in the social media broadcast message failed.
When tried with GLO, MTN, and Airtel lines without a prior NIMC registration, a message prompted, saying, “Your data does not exist”.
Also, when contacted, spokesperson for NIMC, Kayode Adegoke, explained that NIMC must capture people’s data first before NIN could be allocated them.
While reacting to the viral broadcast message, Adegoke said, “The information is incorrect. We have linked our data with BVN. People need to come to our office to register. If you have not registered with NIMC, go to our centres and register.
“Truly, we have harmonised our data with some BVN data. But it is an incomplete process until you register with NIMC. if you don’t register with NIMC, efforts to generate your NIN will show record not found.
“For people not to have their lines cut off, they should disregard the message and register appropriately.”
VERDICT: It is FALSE that all those who had registered for BVN automatically have NIN allocated to them.