A huge number of mobile telecommunications subscribers across the country who have been seeking to retrieve their lost Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards or acquire new lines have been unable to do so due to the unavailability of the National Identity Management Commission’s NIN Verification Service (NVS).
The affected NIMC portal which is faced with technical glitch, enables telecom firms, the Nigerian Immigration Service, banks and other organisations to verify the National Identity Number of their customers before attending to them, in line with the Federal Government’s directive.
Responding to complaints from users, MTN Nigeria said the “NIMC application is currently unavailable. Please bear with us as we are unable to process sim swap and upgrade requests due to external challenges. We appreciate your understanding and will post an update once this has been resolved.’’
What NIMC is saying about the unavailability of its services
NIMC in its statement confirmed the technical issues with its portal which it attributed to maintenance.
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The statement from NIMC reads, “The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) wishes to inform the general public that its NIN verification Service (NVS) is temporarily unavailable due to the maintenance service being carried out by one of the Commission’s network service providers.
“The NIMC wants to assure the public that verification and authentication services would be restored once the maintenance is concluded.
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“The Commission apologises for any inconvenience this might cause our esteemed customers, as all hands are on deck to ensure speedy restoration.
“Meanwhile, the public can make use of the alternative Tokenisation verification platform.”
NIMC’s clarification on services and alternative platform
According to reports, the Spokesman of NIMC, Kayode Adegoke, said that nobody should be excluded from any service under the guise of non-verification of NIN.
Adegoke said, “Even though the NIN verification service (NVS) might be down due to maintenance by one of our service providers of its infrastructure, the alternative platform – TOKENISATION is up and running,” the spokesperson said.
“There is the need to ask questions from the Telcos, NIS, Banks and others on the reason for turning down customers in the guise of NIN not being verified due to the temporary unavailability of the NVS, while the alternative platform- Tokenization is working!!!
“NIMC NVS platform is not the only verification platform available for use, but Tokenisation which protects the identity of NIN holders is also up and running!!!
“And for accurate information, it is not a NIMC problem, rather, a government service provider has embarked on maintenance of its infrastructure, which has affected most government agencies that rely on it for the provision of IT service. But for us in NIMC, the TOKENIZATION is available for the verification of the NIN before rendering services.”
The downtime of the NIMC portal is reported to have entered the sixth day making the telecommunication firms in the country to suspend SIM card replacement and acquisition services,
What you should know
- Recall that the Federal Government had on December 15, 2020, directed the telecom operators to block subscribers who had not registered their SIMs with valid NINs by December 30, 2020.
- The linkage of NINs and SIMs was mandated by the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, as part of efforts to build a cohesive national database.
- Following a public outcry against the earlier announcement due to long queues, massive crowds amid Covid-19 restrictions, logistical challenges among others, the deadline for the implementation of the policy have been extended several times.
- The NIMC has said it is committed to its mandate to establish, own, operate, maintain and manage the nation’s identity database.
- All other forms of identity management, including the Bank Verification Number (BVN), are expected to be linked to the NIN.