The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) pre-enrolment portal is still not functional about one week after it crashed.
The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) had earlier ordered telecoms operators to disconnect SIM cards not linked to a National Identity Number by December 30.
Nigerians without National Identity Numbers had in a bid to retain connectivity thronged the portal to pre-enrol online before heading to the registration centres.
The portal, however, crashed under the heavy burden of people visiting the site frequently.
The NIMC had stated that it was working on bringing back the site to function. But a week after, this has yet to be done.
Rather, SaharaReporters gathered that the NIMC introduced a booking system for NIN enrolment.
According to a statement issued by the commission’s spokesperson, Kayode Adegoke, applicants are to visit any of the NIMC Offices closest to them during stipulated business hours (9 am – 1 pm) to submit their personal information which will be used to schedule an appointment.
However, applicants who come after the daily assigned number has been exceeded will be scheduled for the next day.
Nigerians are kicking against this, stating that it was already in place.
A cross-section of Nigerians have however questioned why the pre-enrolment portal could not be used for such.
For instance, Susan Onyedikachi said, “They are not reintroducing anything, it has been in existence for a long time. At the centre where I did mine, we picked numbers and if for instance, they said they would attend to 50 persons per day, the person who was number 51 would be scheduled for the next day. Why can’t they make the pre-enrolment portal functional?”
She suggested that the forms filled online via the pre-enrolment portal should be used to assign date and number to individuals as this would make the process faster.
Also, in an interview with SaharaReporters, Akolade Olusegun described the commission’s booking system as a waste of time, noting that activating the pre-enrolment portal is the best way to go about the process.
He said, “Since this NIN issue became important to us, it’s been one story or another, why can’t they find a lasting solution that will make the registration seamless? The use of the pre-enrolment portal is the way to go. They should do it in such a way that once each person inputs their local government area where they live, it will assign a nearby centre to them and people at the back-end will get their details and communicate with them whether via telephone or email, to let them know the date they will do the main registration.”
Olusegun said he believed the deadline for the NIN registration would again be extended, as according to him, the NIMC has yet to find tactical ways to get millions of Nigerians registered.
Another Nigerian, who has yet to register, Folabi Raymond, said he was tired of the process. “They are just going back and forth,” he said.
Raymond said he had the feeling that NIMC did not know what to do and that Nigerians were paying dearly for that.
He said, “If not that they would disconnect my SIM card, I wouldn’t even be bothered but I know if I don’t do it, at some point, I would not be able to make calls.”
He said the pre-enrolment portal should be activated for the sake of young Nigerians who are ICT-savvy, while the booking system should be used for adults and other sets of persons who cannot operate a mobile phone or personal computer.
“I am not against the booking system but they can also do online booking with their website. For the sake of those who are not learned, booking in the office is good but for those of us that have phones, let us book online. It will reduce the crowd at the NIMC offices.”
A Twitter user, Chijioke Okoro (@Mazi_Chi) tweeted, “In Nigeria, you must suffer for everything this government initiates. The online pre-enrolment portal has been completely not reachable for days now, meanwhile; the government has placed a deadline for updating SIM with NIN. Sad realities.”
Efforts by SaharaReporters on Thursday to reach the NIMC spokesman to speak on when the portal would be functional proved abortive as he neither answered his calls nor replied to text messages.