My life as a recent graduate, done with my national youth service year, and now waiting to get that dream job, can be tasking a bit. I’m young and savvy; I like to move around a lot, not bogged down at one point for too long.
There’s this volatility about this phase of life for most young people. The irony is, security is the most pressing issue for my country at this given time, and I have to be cautious of where I go, and when I’m on the move. I have heard of stories of young men, full of life, gunned down by militant fire, or by the Nigerian military, mistaken for the “enemy”.
It got to its height, when I went clubbing one fateful Friday evening. At a checkpoint, the policemen asked for my ID. My only valid one was my International Passport, which I do not carry around often, and didn’t have on me that night; and that was the beginning of a long night for me, which ended in me not leaving that post, till around 2:30am. I was angst, spoke all the English I knew, but they were not going to let me move an inch, without confirming my identity, else, they threatened that they will call in the SARS, and have me whisked away for interrogation as a suspected militant.
In the end, I got away with it, albeit late in the night, because I ended up begging them and parting with some money (against my will), but the next day, I went to the NIMC office in Jos to get registered for my National Identity Card.
Well, this could happen to you as regards identity or any other records someday, and to stop it from happening means you should get registered for your National Identification Number (NIN). This is issued by the National Identity Management Commission under the Ministry of Interior. The NIN collates your vital records and stores it up in one unified database which can then be used subsequently by federal authorities.
The National Identification Number (NIN) is a set of numbers assigned to an individual upon successful enrollment. Enrollment consists of the recording of an individual’s demographic data and capture of the ten (10) fingerprints, head-to-shoulder facial picture and digital signature, which are all used to cross-check existing data in the National Identity Database to confirm that there is no previous entry of the same data. Once this (de-duplication) process is completed the data is then stored with a unique NIN that was assigned to it. The NIN once issued to a person cannot be used again, (that is, it cannot be issued to another person even if the previous person is dead). It is the NIN that helps to tie all records about a person in the database and is used to check the identity verified.
Its importance can’t be overemphasized in this age of identity theft and fraud. It is to this light that the NIMC has rolled out a nationwide campaign for citizens to get registered. To encourage this, Nigerians especially the young and upwardly mobile folks would be earning gifts over the course of one month, for registering and showing evidence that they have truly registered. This would be ongoing on Facebook and twitter, where citizens would also be engaged in sensitization and educating campaigns, to stimulate civil indulgence and participation in the exercise.
Insecurity in Nigeria and how I almost became a Militant!
Written by Kolo Kenneth