Federal Government’s Insistence On NIN/SIM Cards Registration Amidst Upsurge In COVID-19 Demonstrates Grave Insensitivity; Says HURIWA

By Musa Sunusi Ahmad

The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has for the umpteenth time lampooned President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration on its insistence that nearly one hundred million subscribers of telecommunications lines must queue up to obtain their National Identity Card numbers so as to synchronise them with their lines. 
The Rights group said the government may  be doing this so and insisting on a very tight deadline for NIN/SIM CARDS REGISTRATION so as to obtain a high number of fatalities and casualties from the dreaded second wave of Covid-19 so as to use it as bargaining chips to obtain another rounds of dubious loans from multilateral lending institutions.  
“We can only think of the very possibility that the Federal government has proceeded against all protestations to compel millions of Nigerians to expose themselves to the inevitable risks of catching COVID-19 just so that the central government that is perpetually on borrowing sprees could use the emerging high number of COVID-19 PANDEMIC patients in Nigeria to argue for additional loans from either the International Monetary fund,  World Bank or the Chinese government under the guise of using the funds to mitigate the sudden upsurge in COVID-19 afflictions in the Country”.  
“There is probably no other convincing and logical arguments to support this grave consequences that the Federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari has deliberately set out to force millions of Nigerians to embark on continuous stampede around the offices of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) offices in some states of the Federation”, affirmed HURIWA.  
 HURIWA quoting numerous news sources and reports recalled that despite the announcement of extension by six weeks for the registration of National Identification Number (NIN), Nigerians, in the bid to avert an impending disconnection of their SIMs, have besieged the office of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in Lagos and Abuja in their millions to enroll for their NIN. 
HURIWA submitted that this avoidable catastrophic health emergency is being instigated on Nigerians by a government that lacks sensitivity, empathy, responsibility and rational governance methodologies.  “We call on Nigerians to resist this attempt at causing widespread afflictions with the COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN NIGERIA TO satisfy some ulterior motive nursed by the ruling class in the Country that lack transparency and accountability”. 
HURIWA  recalled that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, had initially issued a two-week ultimatum to all telecommunications operators in the country to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIMs) without NIN by today (Thursday). It later extended registration for NIN by up to six weeks, from December 31 to February 9, 2021.
HURIWA recalled that a newspaper report said that  at Ikeja few hours back it was a distraught crowd that stormed the NIMC to enroll for their NIN. By 8:00a.m. the gate leading to the office in Alausa was already shut against Lagosians, who besieged the place despite existing ban on large gatherings due to the second wave of COVID-19.The situation was also the same on Tuesday, the first working day after Christmas. Hundreds of NIN applicants were locked out of the premises, with only a select few admitted into the compound, which also houses the Lagos head office of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).Many of those who gathered outside were seen discussing their frustration with the registration in groups, flouting the COVID-19 protocols put in place to check the spread of the pandemic. Physical distancing was not adhered to. It was also observed that the majority of them did not use their face masks and those who did, had the masks over their chin.
HURIWA in a media Statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf said President Muhammadu Buhari is displaying an unfathomable tendency of fatalism and gross insensitivity by insisting that despite the universal fact that the second wave of the CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC in Nigeria is reportedly much more virulent than when it emerged in March 2020, that Nigerians must troop out in their millions within six weeks to obtain the National Identity Card numbers so as to avoid a situation of them losing their lines as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.  
“The only probable reason could be that the Federal government is embarking on a nation wide drive to force millions of Nigerians to scramble for their NIN/SIM CARDS REGISTRATION just so that the National Centre for disease Control would be able to record a very high numbers of Nigerians afflicted by the second wave of COVID-19 in Nigeria so these statistics can form the fulcrum of a request for loans from multinational lending institutions who had advanced some loans under the guise of combating COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN NIGERIA. If this is not the reason, then why is the government pushing Millions of Nigerians to struggle for NIN within a short span of time? This is neither the first nor second or even third time that telecom subscribers have been made to report to the offices of the service providers to do their finger prints capturing. What is the necessity for this NIN/SIM cards synchronization at the risks of death, for crying out loud?”

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