The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) portal has suffered a major glitch which has lasted for many days now.
Although NIMC has said it is working to restore the service, the national identification number (NIN) verification service is “temporarily unavailable”.
The breakdown has resulted in the country’s telecommunications, banking sectors and other government agencies like the Nigerian Immigration services suffering immensely.
Also, thousands of Nigerians who want to process their visa applications for travels or those who want to make some bank transactions have not been able to do so.
Likewise, thousands of telecommunication subscribers who want to either retrieve their lost Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards or acquire new lines cannot do so because of the NIMC glitch.
What you should Know:
Recall that NIMC verification service is an online service where personal data and other information get verified.
All entitles that require verification, as well as transactions and document processing must be verified on NIMC.
Meanwhile, remember that the Federal Government, recently, mandated that banks, telecommunication network providers and other organisations must verify the NIN of their customers before attending to them.
Likewise, the directive, through the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) mandates all telecommunication companies to synchronise their SIM registration portals with the NIMC portal.
This move is in order to verify the details of their subscribers.
The synchronisation is a requirement that is binding on all existing and new SIMs in the country.
The glitch has caused delays in passport application processes since the NIS could not verify the NINs of applicants.
Also, telecommunication companies have been hit hard too as they too cannot process SIM services following the glitch.
Likewise, banks too cannot verify customers’ IDs as well as opening of new accounts for customers.
Also, top bank officials have lamented saying they have not been attending to customers with NIN following the issue.
“Banks have various portals for verifying IDs. Those with NINs could not be attended to because the portal was down.”
Also, one of the telecommunications companies, MTN, responded to its customers’ complaints about the NIMC issues on Twitter saying thus:
“We are sorry we currently cannot process SIM swap and update requests due to external challenges.
“We appreciate your understanding and will post an update once this has been resolved.”
Meanwhile, an MTN source had revealed to Punch saying as follows:
“NIMC made it compulsory that before we can register a customer, we have to verify their NIN.
” The agency gave us a back route to its server. We connect to the server to verify NIN.
” When we verify, it will bring the record of the customer (the information the customer gave to NIMC while registering for NIN).
” We have to confirm the information the customer gave NIMC against what we have.
” There’s a way we connect to the NIMC server. It is that server that has been down since Wednesday.
“Before now, we didn’t need NIN to do this. We just use the customer’s valid ID card and SIM pack.
” If the customer does not have that, a sworn affidavit is okay. However, the introduction of NIN has changed that.”
Also speaking to the news medium, a top official at Glo said thus:
“The problem is with the NIMC server. Their server is down; we can’t connect with them.
” We don’t know when it will be back. All the telecoms (companies) have network but because of NIN verification, we can’t work.
” It is a Federal Government directive: without NIN, we can’t do anything.
” Even if you want to buy SIM and register, without NIN, you can’t do it.”
Similarly, a top source at Airtel Nigeria told the medium saying, “You cannot get a new SIM until next week because there is no network.
The source added thus:
“It’s not all network. It is this NIN something.
“It’s because we have to use your NIN to register the SIM.
“It affects all the telecommunications (companies).”
Meanwhile, as many Nigerians who have not been able to use the NIMC services bewail the glitch, NIMC has reacted saying it is working to restore the services.
Giving reasons for the glitch, NIMC said maintenance of the verification portal caused the downtime.
It however, urged affected persons to make use of its alternative tokenisation verification platform for verifications, pending the conclusion of the maintenance.
“The National Identity Management Commission wishes to inform the general public that its NIN Verification Service 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.
“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.”