The rush by millions of Nigerians to secure the National Identity Number (NIN) is being frustrated as workers of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) began a nationwide strike on Thursday.
As a result, hopes of meeting the February 9 NIN to SIM registration and verification deadline may have finally hit the rocks.
The workers hinged the strike on several challenges, including their exposure to COVID-19 risks, lack of personal protective equipment, irregularities in promotion and poor funding.
Consequent upon the strike, thousands of applicants were, yesterday, locked outside NIMC premises in Lagos, Abuja, Imo, Abia, and other parts of the country.
In Abuja, many of the applicants who arrived at the commission headquarters as early as 8 a.m. were locked outside the office, while officials discussed the strike in hushed tones.
In a strike notice jointly signed by the President of the NIMC branch of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Lucky Michael, and the union’s Secretary, Odia Victor, the Union said: “Consequent upon the just-concluded congress of the above mentioned association that took place on January 6, 2021, the unit’s executive directs all members on Grade Level 12 and below in the head office and state offices to report to their respective duty posts on January 7, 2021 (yesterday) and do nothing.
“All members at the local government offices and special centres are advised to stay away from their centres as task force and implementation committees would be on parade to ensure total compliance with the directive.”
A communiqué issued at the end of the branch’s congress meeting of the ASCSN said the strike became imperative, considering the risks involved in the current registration due to the exposure of the workers to risks associated with COVID-19.
In Oyo State, the NIMC workers did not work yesterday.
They claimed to be complying with a directive of the ASCSN which ordered workers and affiliated bodies to embark on the strike.
President of the state branch of the union, Mr. Lucky Michael, said the action became necessary due to the exposure of the workers to COVID-19 risks, lack of personal protective equipment, irregularities in promotion, poor funding, among others.
The State Coordinator of NIMC, Mr. Olusola Sotayo, confirmed the development.
He said: “The union directed the workers (to embark on the strike). It is an issue that has to do with the ministry, management and government. It is a directive from the ASCSN. We are in the office and all workers are at work, just that they are not working.”
Residents of Anambra, Nasarawa, Delta, Cross River states, among others, could not be registered yesterday.
They expressed frustration at their inability to be registered for the NIN.
Many others called for the creation of more centres to enable the large number of prospective registrants to have the vital number.