Nigerians living in the United States of America have been directed to register for the National Identification Number (NIN), according to the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York.
The NIN is issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) upon enrolment into the National Identity Database and is used to capture an individual’s records.
The Consul-General, Ambassador Lot Egopija, said at a town hall meeting with Nigerian residents in New York that the directive to register for NIN came from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He said the exercise will kick off as soon as the Consulate concludes arrangements with the NIMC.
The New York Consulate is one of Nigeria’s four diplomatic representations in the U.S., and Egopija said everyone within its jurisdiction will be enrolled into the database.
There’s been a surge in the number of Nigerians registering for their NIN since the government announced in December 2020 that any mobile phone subscriber without a NIN will have their SIM cards blocked in a matter of weeks.
The deadline has since been moved six different times, with the latest one scheduled for October 2021.
The extension was done to accommodate registration of foreigners, diplomatic missions, Nigerians in diaspora, and Nigerian residents in hard-to-reach remote areas.
The exercise has also been tainted by controversy after past comments of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, were exposed to have sympathised with terrorist and terrorist groups.
The minister has been the major influence behind the latest push to enroll Nigerians in the database, an exercise he said will help Nigeria fight insecurity better.
He resisted widespread calls to resign after his past comments on terrorism, jeopardising trust in his office and what he can possibly do with data of millions of Nigerians.
There have been a total of 59.8 million unique NIN enrolments, with over 5,500 enrolment systems within and outside the country.