By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Thousands of people in the early hours on Friday, stormed the office of National Identity Management Commission, NIMC,’s office, at Awolowo Way Ikeja, Lagos, in apparent disregard to COVID-19 safety protocols to get registered.
The anxious residents were in a rush to beat the Federal Government’s deadline for subscribers to have their National Identity Number (NIN) linked with their SIM cards extended till February 9 of have their mobile line blocked.
The uncontrollable crowd caused a stampede forcing the overwhelmed NIMCs officials to summarily suspend the further operation of the registration exercise.
Meantime, while reaching to the development, Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Dr. Femi Okesayintolu, described the unruly behaviour of the people as “unfortunate’ amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in the state.
According to Oke-Osayintolu, “Ut rather sad to witness this kind of development.
“The impending cutoff of unregistered phone lines has led to wide-scale panic and is undermining all attempts to control COVID-19 spread.
“This can be termed as “super-spreader events” and occurring daily.
‘I will urge the people to adhere strictly to COVID-19 safety protocols to complement government efforts at flattening the curve of the disease in the state, in their own interest in general, ” Oke-Osanyintolu stated.
However, reacting to the extension of deadline earlier, Chairman of Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, Mr Gbenga Adebayo, in order to ensure full utilization of the extension period judiciously, urged all telecom subscribers who have a NIN to link it to their SIM cards through available channels as soon as possible.
Those yet to enrol are advised to visit www.nimc.gov.ng for a list of enrolment centres close to them.”