On Friday, April 2, 2021, several online news platforms and social media users shared posts that the Minister of Communications, Isa Pantami, warned that “failure to register for NIN will result in a 14-year imprisonment”.
According to the claim, Minister Isa Pantami disclosed on Thursday during a briefing organised by the Media department of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Checks by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) shows that the claim that the Minister of Communications that citizens without the National Identification Number (NIN) will face 14-years imprisonment is misleading.
Further investigations on the claim carried out by CDD revealed that Pantami said that many Nigerians have failed to obtain their NIN until the issue of SIM blocking came up.
During the press briefing, found on Channels Television’s YouTube Channel, the minister said: “National identity is a law and it is mandatory.”
Stating the provisions of the law on the matter and how long it has been in existence, the Minister had also warned that conducting certain activities in Nigeria without NIN is an offence.
Pantami said: “For you to get voters card in Nigeria based on section 27 of NIMC act (without NIN) is an offence. For you to open a bank account without NIN is an offence.”
“For you to pay tax is an offence. For you to collect pension is an offence. For you to enjoy any government service without having NIN is an offence. Section 29 says if you do any of these in S.27 without obtaining the national identity, you have committed a crime that will lead to a fine or imprisonment or both. And this is 14 years,” he added.
Further checks by CDD revealed that the said law has been in existence since 2007 when NIMC was established.
Also, following the controversy raised by the reports, the Minister on his official Twitter page debunked the claims. While asking journalists to release the recording of the press briefing said he has been quoted out of context.
The claim that the Minister of Communications Ali Isa Pantami warned that citizens without NIN is 14 years imprisonment is misleading.
Checks carried out by CDD revealed that the claim as shared on several platforms is misleading as the Minister only stated what the law provides on the issue of identification number and for how long it has been in existence.
CDD is urging the general public to always verify the authenticity of stories before sharing them.
You can forward suspicious messages for verification via +2349062910568 or contact us on Twitter @CDDWestAfrica
Center for Democracy and Development West Africa