Thousands of people applying for the National Identification Number (NIN) are stranded across Nigeria.
The applicants, reports say, met striking workers when they tried registering for the national ID on Thursday.
The registration exercise was being carried out by employees of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) who have now down tools over unpaid allowances.
The NIMC employees also said the government did not give them personal protective equipment (PPE) to safeguard workers from COVID-19.
The situation at the NIMC office in Alausa, Lagos left many applicants stranded, Channels TV reported. The applicants included the elderly, pregnant women, and mothers who had come with their children.
Some aggrieved applicants reportedly left the registration centre and marched to the state government office in protest.
NIN registration surged after the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ordered telecoms operators to block SIM cards that are not linked to the new national ID. At least 100 million Nigerians do not have NIN, reports say.
But the registration is now being threatened by apparent government failure to cater to NIMC registrars.
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), NIMC branch, Lucky Michael, and its Secretary, Odia Victor, recently signed a notice of strike over the matter.
The notice read:
“Consequent upon the just concluded congress of the above mentioned association that took place on January 6, 2020, the unit executive directs all members of grade level 12 and below in the head office and state offices to report to their respective duty posts tomorrow January 7, 2020 and do nothing.
“All members at the local government offices and special centres are advised to stay away from their various centres as task force and implementation committees would be on parade to ensure total compliance to the directive.”
According to a communiqué issued at the end of the congress meeting of the ASCSN, NIMC branch, the strike had become necessary due to the exposure of staff to COVID-19 risks, lack of personal protective equipment, irregularities in promotion and poor funding.
They also asked to be paid overtime and given enough tools to work with, Punch reported.
The congress noted that, “Staff members were infected with COVID-19 and adequate measures have not been taken to curtail the spread.
“The meeting resolved that safety of staff should be prioritised. Furthermore the office environment should be fumigated immediately.
“The congress agreed that the NIMC staff salary structure approved by the Federal Government vide Presidential assent be implemented in the personnel appropriation of the 2021 annual budget effective January 2021.
“That the lopsided and irregular promotion done in 2017 and 2020 be reviewed, regularised and gazetted in accordance with public service rules.”