Up until a bright Monday morning of December 28, when she left her home to enrol for the mandated National Identification Number (NIN), Olaotan Oyinloye, had no premonition she would end up in a clinic to treat a cut carved on her by some unknown assailants.
The 29- year-old fashion designer went to the National Identity Management Commission’s registration centre at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State capital, Southwest Nigeria to register for the identification number.
Oyinloye said she was in a race to beat the deadline so as to avoid being blocked by her service provider as directed by the communication’s Minister, Isa Pantanmi following a meeting with stakeholders in the communication industry.
On December 15, the Federal Government issued a directive to all mobile network operators to deactivate all SIM cards that will not be duly registered with valid national identity card.
“Operators to require ALL their subscribers to provide a valid National Identification Number (NIN) to update SIM registration records. The submission of NIN by subscribers to take place within two weeks (from today December 16, 2020 and end by 30 December, 2020). After the deadline, ALL SIMs without NINs are to be blocked from the networks,” part of the directive reads.
The directive, if effected, would see millions of mobile lines blocked.
Despite not being able to enrol for the identification number because of a public holiday, Oyinloye almost lost her life to the raging insecurity plaguing the country on her way to the centre very early Monday morning hoping to beat many people to the first spot or at least being somewhere close to the front.
“I left home very early this morning in order to get a comfortable spot on the queue for NIN registration,” she started in a series of thread on the microblogging site, Twitter, late Monday evening.
Eager, she stopped a commercial motorcyclist known by locals as ‘okada’ to take her back home, but unknown to her, the motorcyclist and the other passengers would late ruin her day.
In Ibadan, Okada men, as they are fondly called, take two passengers who may likely be going to a similar route.
“The Okada I took was driven by the Devil himself. You know Ibadan and their two passengers routine, little did I know the other guy already on the bike was Devil’s incarnate,” Oyinloye narrates.
“When we got to the middle of a dimly lit highway-Secretariat road before UCH, the passenger pretended to alight. That was when they manufactured a big menacing cutlass, I still don’t know where they hid it all along. I ran and was caught up with.”
She continued: “I was forming all fiesty and all and refused to part with my purse and mobile phone. I dragged with them and cry out for assistance, but got none. They left eventually but not without a matchet wound to my brow. I later got to the clinic and it was confirmed the wound is so deep, they have to stitch it up.”
Disappointed and frustrated, Oyinloye faulted the analogue means of data collection by the Nigerian government which involves queuing at designated points to get captured.
“This NIN palaver ehn. How can Nigerians be growing digital savvy at a rate noticeable even globally while Nigeria herself is asking Nigerians to queue for everything that can be done digitally?”
With a population of 200 million, the west African country has an estimate of over 198 million active mobile lines.
Only 41.5 million Nigerians have registered for identity cards as of May 2020.
Nigerians have continued to berate the directives, describing it as “burdensome and unnecessary”, especially in the wake of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Social media users equally condemned the incident, stating that Ibadan is fast becoming a haven for criminality.
LéBiyi @biyibjorn a Twitter user pointedly recalled telling a friend how Ibadan is becoming unsafe.
He said: “I remember when @Dammielawlar was screaming how unsafe Ibadan has become and when @BhadmusAkeem started highlighting the insecurities in Oyo state…and the amount of dragging and name calling they were subjected to by the worshippers of the governor. Ibadan is no longer safe.”
Another user, @tundeoladun, shares a similar position as LeBiyi. He said the state governor, Seyi Makinde, needs to rejig the security architecture of the state.
“Going to queue for NIN is not the problem! The problem is the insecurity in the Oyo State. The Government of Engr. @seyiamakinde needs to be up and doing in terms of security. Security is at its all time low in the State! Please take care of yourself very well dear. It is well.”
“I’m.sorry you had to go through all that, just last night one elderly man was narrating his own ordeal to me. That place has indeed become absolute ghetto.. uncle @seyiamakinde people are getting cornered along Government house and ikolaba axis.. do something!!!” Omo Aare @_Lakeside submitted.
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