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NIMC website crashes as Nigerians rush to meet controversial NIN requirements

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Many Nigerians scrambling to obtain their national identification numbers for onward linkage to their SIM cards, to avoid deactivation by telecom operators in line with the federal government’s 14-day ultimatum, have been left stranded due to server downtime.

Peoples Gazette learnt that the website of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) — issuers of the NIN, has been inaccessible for the most part on Monday.

A cybersecurity and privacy rights activist Gbenga Sesan, who raised an alarm over the development at about 10:09 a.m., had in a follow-up tweet at 1:49 p.m. disclosed that the online portal was still inaccessible.

Several tries to gain access to the site were futile as of 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon.

It was not immediately clear the cause of the downtime, as neither the NIMC nor the ministry of communications and digital economy have issued a statement on the situation.

Some enraged Nigerians have called on the immediate resignation of communications minister Isa Pantami for failing to keep the NIMC website operational, despite endangering public health with the controversial policy.

Despite a resurgence in coronavirus infections across the country, many Nigerians had thronged designated NIN centres nationwide to enrol for the national database programme before the two-week deadline.

Mr. Pantami had on December 15 ordered telecom firms to block any mobile number that is not linked to a national identification number
before December 31, 2020.

The Gazette’s findings showed that at least 163 million telephone lines may be blocked over the controversial NIN requirements.

Following nationwide outrage, the House of Representatives had called for a 10-week extension of the directive, while expressing worry that the two-week deadline which coincides with the Yuletide may lead to stampede and bring untold hardship to Nigerians.

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