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EXCLUSIVE: NIMC speaks on alleged deactivation of Sowore’s NIN

National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Never refused to deactivate National Identification Number (NIN) of Omoel Sawer, publisher of Sahara Reporters.

NIMC issued the denial in response to the Premium Times Freedom of Information (FOI) investigation into Mr Soor’s claim and its impact on the rights of many voiceless citizens.

The agency described Mr Soor’s claim as “bizarre” in its February 21, 2022 reply to the newspaper, allaying concerns that many Nigerians may suffer similar fate.

“The NIMC refutes and rejects this bizarre allegation that the NIN assigned to Mr. O’Malley Sower was confidentially deactivated by the Commission,” said Olufemi Fatherre, an assistant director of the agency, in a response signed on behalf of the director, legal, regulator and consent. Department of Services, fall.

But Mr Soor insisted on Saturday that his NIN had been deactivated and only after threats to sue NIMC, adding that neither the NIMC nor the relevant government agencies had formally responded to his letter on the matter.

NIMC’s clarification on the matter came just weeks after Sahara Reporters reported on January 12, 2022, Mr. Sawer’s national biometric data has been disabled by NIMC.

Mr Soor’s voter card, driving license and passport have also been deactivated, the report said.

“As a result, Sawyer will not be able to use any national documents to make any transactions inside and outside the country because the cards cannot be read biometrically,” the report said, describing the development as “the latest attack” on workers.

Mr Soor, who said he learned of the development on January 12 while trying to use his national identity card for a bank transaction, said he had not received any prior warning before it happened.

How Premium Times reports Mr Soor’s lawyer, Tope Temukun, later issued a seven-day ultimatum to NIMC to reactivate his NIN. Or face legal action.

He sent a copy of the letter Independent National Election Commission (INEC)The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), the National Security Advisor, the State Security Service (SSS) and the Chief of Defense Staff.

A few days after the seven-day ultimatum ended, however, Mr. Soor Announced that his NIN had been reactivated as a result of threats to sue him Agencies.

Premium Times’ search

The Premium Times wrote to NIMC on February 1, 2022, to clarify the matter, considering that many Nigerians, especially the voiceless, may be the victims of similar deactivation of their NIN, as Mr. Sawer claims.

The newspaper wanted to know whether the Activation Act, NIMC Act, NIN Nigeria has provided for the deactivation of NIN and the legal basis for such deactivation.

Premium Times also wants to know if there is a procedure for deactivating a person’s NIN and whether deactivation can happen without the knowledge of the holder.

“Do you see a conflict between such deactivation and the rights of the person concerned?

“Do other eligible residents, including Nigerians and NINs, need to check their NIN status regularly to make sure it is still active?” The Premium Times in its FOI letter addressed to the Director General of NIMC requested a reply within seven days of the FOI Act.

NIMC’s answer

The agency, in its reply dated February 21, 2022, but received by e-mail on February 24, dismissed Mr. Sawer’s claim.

The agency explained that the data on the registrants was not deactivated for any reason until after their deaths.

It added that even with the death of a person, the family must send an official notification request for the NIN rest of the deceased person.

“In response to your letter under reference, NIMC makes it clear that the NIN of the enlisted persons has not been deactivated for any reason.

“The NIN is only rested when the NIN holder dies and this is done by the family of the deceased at the request of an official notification,” the agency said.

Describing Mr. Sower’s claim as bizarre, NIMC said the activist’s records were intact in its database and verification platform.

Mr Fatherre, a NIMC official who signed the newspaper’s response to the inquiry, said Mr Sawyer’s allegations could stem from problems with regular uninterrupted connections to the agency’s verification services.

He said, “The NIMC rejects and dismisses these bizarre allegations that Mr. Omoel Sower was very efficiently deactivated by the NINT Commission.

“A quick dive into our system reveals that Mr. Sawyer’s records are good and effective on the National Identity Database (NIDB) as well as verification platforms. Needless to say, his complaints could be a matter of routine connections that cause downtime that occasionally affects the NIMC verification service NVS. “

My NIN has been disabled, Soor insists

Our correspondent reached out to Mr. Sawyer on Saturday for his comments on the clarification provided by NIMC.

He insisted that his NIN had been deactivated by the government, which he said was probably aimed at preventing him from renewing his passport, opening a bank account or getting other official means of identification.

“It simply came to our notice then. It was not a connection problem at all.

“Officials told me they rarely receive such responses but are not officially targeted for preventing a person from renewing their passport, opening a bank account, driving license and other official IDs,” Mr Soor said.

The employee, who turned 51 earlier this month, said he had been told by an official at another bank that “my accounts had been renewed from SSS.”

“Then I officially wrote to NIMC giving them seven days to reactivate my NIN or take legal action.

“They did not respond but I heard from the bank two weeks later that my NIN had been reactivated

“And that immigration also gave me access to my international passport as a form of national identity card but my passport has expired,” Mr. Sawer said.

He mentioned that he has since used his NIN for an online application for a new bank account and it worked. But he said his “PVC (Permanent Voter Card) is still inactive.”

“In all of this, none of the federal agencies contacted have responded to my inquiries or written requests,” the staff added.

So far, no relevant government agency has officially responded to Mr Sawer’s outcry.

Spokespersons for NIMC and the National Immigration Service (NIS), the government agency that issues passports to Nigerians, could not be reached for comment.

Saore and Buhari administrations

Mr Soor has been targeted several times by Nigerian security agencies since his arrest by the State Security Service (SSS) after announcing in August 2019 that he was leading a protest against the Buhari administration’s poor management of security. Country situation, economy and corruption.

He and a protester from Osun State, Olawale Bakare, who was also arrested by the SSS in connection with the protests, are currently facing charges of sedition in the Abuja Federal High Court for plotting to overthrow the Buhari administration through protests.

In addition to confiscating Mr. Sawer’s passport, the court restricted his travel to Abuja as part of his bail condition.

But he has been leading protests and participating in other anti-government protests in Abuja. On several occasions, he has been publicly assaulted or detained by the police.

He, on several occasions, during protests and court appearances, raised fears of repeated coordinated attacks on him by alleged hired thugs.

Mr Soor also announced new arrests by police on Thursday. He said he was released a few hours after his arrest.


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