Large crowd thronging the web portal of the National Identity Management Commission for the process of obtaining their National Identity Number led to the crash of the portal on Monday.
Many people who wanted to print the enrollment form, which is a major requirement for registering for the National Identity Number were unable to do so and got stranded.
Checks showed that www.nimc.gov.ng as well as www3.nimc.gov.ng displayed error messages.
The commission reopened its enrolment centres on Tuesday for NIN registration after they were shut the previous day.
It was observed that only applicants with completed application forms were allowed into the premises of the commission in Lagos after they had received tally numbers earlier in the day.
NIMC officials encouraged those that had not been attended to as of 2pm on Tuesday to return the next day as early as 6am to be captured.
The Lagos centre was one of those that were shut down on Monday due to the large crowd that gathered and the lack of social distancing.
In Abuja, residents of the Federal Capital Territory besieged NIMC’s registration centres in their desperate bid to obtain the NIN.
This was despite the extension of deadline for the linkage of SIM cards to NIN.
The Federal Government had declared on December 15, 2020 that after December 30, 2020, all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked.
But on Monday it extended the December 30, 2020 deadline following widespread opposition against the earlier announcement.
The government gave three weeks’ extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020 to January 19, 2021.
It also gave six weeks’ extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020 to February 9, 2021.
When one of our correspondents visited a centre located within the premises of the Nigeria Customs Service Quarters in Karu, in the Abuja Municipal Area Council on Tuesday, crowding persisted as was the case on Monday.
Some of those who besieged the centre on Tuesday were not even aware of the postponement of the deadline.
“I am not aware that they have extended the deadline. My concern is to ensure that my line is not suspended on December 30,” a hairdresser, Ekaette Etim, told our correspondent.
Some others said they decided to keep vigil at the venue because the extension was just for a few weeks.
One of our correspondents reports that even the Abuja headquarters of the commission was spared of crowding as citizens struggled to obtain the NIN in a bid to avoid having their SIMs blocked.
The large crowd was despite the extension of the SIM deactivation deadline by the Federal Government.
“Yes I read it that the deadline to link one’s SIM with NIN has been shifted to February, but it is better to do it now that the issue is fresh and well pronounced in the public,” Anayo Kennedy, told one of our correspondents while waiting to obtain his NIN at the commission’s head office.
The crowding in the centres of NIMC was also replicated on the cyberspace resulting in the crash of its website.
Officials at the commission confirmed that the website went down due to the huge traffic that greeted it since December 15 after the government made the announcement on the linking of NINs with SIMs.
The Director-General of NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, confirmed that the agency had witnessed tremendous pressure that it could not withstand.
The NIMC boss said, “The way you see people surge into our compounds in Lagos and Abuja, that is the way people throng to our website too.
“This sudden surge led to the development mentioned.”
Aziz said the agency is working to fix the failed website but did not give a timeframe for the repair to be done.
“We are working on it,” he told one of our correspondents.