*Crowd of candidates seeking to register at NIMC offices
Information reaching us has it that Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) officials across the country are swindling innocent Nigerians and candidates who are rushing to obtain the National Identification Number.
Our correspondent who visited some NIMC offices reports that many candidates thronged registration centres especially on Wednesday and Thursday as the registration for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) would start on Monday. Recall that the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had on October 17, 2019, said only candidates with the NIN would stand eligible for registration for the 2020 UTME.
Dr Benjamin Fabian, JAMB spokesman said there was no going back on the board’s policy on the NIN. He blamed examination malpractice syndicates for the problems being encountered by candidates who wanted to obtain the number. Our correspondent also observed that touts and the NIMC officers were demanding and collecting from the candidates amounts ranging from N500, N1,000 N2,000 depending on the candidate’s power to bargain. The sad development is that a good number of the touts were working for some corrupt NIMC officials, and act as middlemen between the candidates and NIMC officers.
One of the candidates that who paid N2,000 before he was allowed to register called on the government to intervene in the situation as his parents who are not well to do had to borrow the N2,000, which he paid as bribe before he was allowed to register. The candidate who would not want his name in prints said, “What sort of a country is this? Why should a government office collect bribe from us before we can register to have national identity number?
“The government should come to our rescue because the extortion in this country from government offices is too much. From Customs to Police to Immigration and all government agencies cannot do anything for the citizens without first exploiting the citizens. If that is how they treat us as young people, my question is: is that the culture they want us to emulate? The exploitation is too much in Nigeria and I think it is because the government is condoning it if not, I believe there must be a way of stopping all the nonsense that is happening at NIMC and other government agencies,” he concluded.
Reacting to the allegations however, the NIMC headquarters in Abuja attributed the hitches to what it called ‘last-minute rush’ by Nigerians to get the NIN. The Commission’s General Manager, Legal Services, Hajiya Hadiza Dagabana, said there were fewer than 2000 enrolment centres in the country. She said Nigeria is supposed to have at least 4000 enrolment points, going by international standards if it is to make the registration hitch-free.