By Aishat Babatunde
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) has cautioned Nigerians against involvement in sale of National Identity Number (NIN) at enrollment centres of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for financial gains.
The EFCC, in a statement on Thursday, said some fraudulent persons at the enrollment centres were using the exercise to extort and induce the enrollees to sell their NIN.
The Nigerian Government had in December ordered citizens to have their phone numbers synchronised with their NINs in a matter of weeks or risk having their lines cut-off—a move the government defended as necessary for checkmating security challenges linked with volatile communication services.
The NIN could be used for tracking criminal records of individuals.
Following the government directive, millions of Nigerians are scrambling to beat the February 9 deadline for acquiring their NIN.
Some officials of the National Identity Management Commission, (NIMC) have been accused of brazen extortion of the enrollees at some centres.
Earlier this week, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ali Pantami, ordered the immediate suspension of some officials caught in the act of extortion.
Announcing the suspension, Pantami said the NIN registration was free of charge, emphasising that no one should pay to obtain an enrolment form or to have their biometrics captured.
‘Buyers Risk Prosecution’
EFCC said it is illegal for Nigerians to sell their NIN as much as it is for the buyers who “stand the risk of vicarious liability for any act of criminality linked to their NIN.”
“In other words, they risk arrest and prosecution for any act of criminality linked to their NIN whether or not they are directly responsible for such crimes,” the statement reads.
The anti-graft agency appealed to members of the public to report anyone seeking to buy their NIN, to its nearest office or other law enforcement agencies.