SERAP clears air on NIN registration amidst COVID-19

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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The Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has clarified its position on National Identification Number (NIN) registration and linking it with SIM cards which concern the timing and methodology being used to achieve the objective of the registration amidst the second wave of COVID-19.

SERAP who made the clarification on its official social platform on Monday, stated that it doesn’t go against NIN registration as its useful mechanism for improving the security situation in the country, while many Nigerians already have their data captured in existing databases in government agencies.

SERAP said, “We are concerned about the timing and  methodology being used to achieve the objective of registration, as it threatens people’s human rights and will lead to collective punishment. Asking people to register for NIN in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic is unsafe and doesn’t portray the government well in the eyes of the public.

“The government should first take steps to harmonise and integrate these existing databases and use the information for the purposes of SIM card registration. The government can then focus on those not currently captured in existing databases with government agencies.

“Therefore, as we have stated in our open letter to President Buhari, the government should start by asking the NIMC to harmonise and integrate existing identification databases [BVN, voter’s card, passport, etc] in government agencies into the National Identity Database.

“We understand that this may not capture everyone. If this is the case, authorities can ask those not captured under existing databases to register for NIN and to link their SIM cards with this. Those that will be affected should be given adequate time and opportunity to register.

“Implementing these recommendations would improve public trust and confidence in the registration process, be cost effective, and remove the risks of COVID-19, as well as show that the government is willing and able to implement and enforce existing laws and standards”, SERAP added.

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