The Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, has said the ongoing National Identification Number enrolment may be suspended over the rising second wave of COVID-19.
He also urged the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to go back to the drawing board and re-order the enrolment process to avoid large crowds at its centres nationwide.
Mamora, who is a member of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the government has a duty to ensure Nigerians are protected at all times.
He spoke on Monday morning while featuring on a programme on Channels TV.
The minister said, “I don’t feel good looking at the picture where people are gathered in (their) multitude; it’s like a super-spreader event which we don’t like. But I’m also aware that the relevant ministry which is the communications and digital economy is looking at this.
“My understanding is that the whole process may be suspended so as to reorder the whole process in terms of management of the crowd because it was never intended that it would become a rowdy process like that.”
Mamora added, “We have a duty as government to ensure that people are protected; we also have a duty to ensure people comply within the limit of what is good for the society at large.”
NIMC workers had embarked on strike last Thursday over exposure to COVID-19 risks, lack of personal protective equipment and poor funding. The workers, however, called off the industrial action some 24 hours later.
The Nigerian government through the Nigerian Communications Commission had ordered telecommunications companies to deactivate telephone lines of subscribers who failed to link their phones to their National Identity Numbers.
It also said telcos subscribers with NIN have January 19 as deadline to link their NIN with their SIM cards while subscribers without NIN have until February 9 to do so.