Workers fingered in extortion at the enrolment centres of the National Identity Management Commission have been suspended by the Federal Government.

It was reliably gathered that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami ordered the immediate suspension of the staff members allegedly involved in extortion of applicants at the NIMC Bauchi and Kaduna State offices.

According to NIMC, the directive came on the heels of public outcry that some personnel of the commission, particularly at enrolment centres in Bauchi and Kaduna were capitalising on the rush for the National Identification Number by the public to perpetuate fraudulent activities.

In a statement issued in Abuja, the Spokesperson of the commission, Kayode Adegoke, said that the act was inimical to the policy directive of the Federal Government, which required mobile network subscribers to update their Subscriber Identification Module registration with a valid NIN.

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According to the statement, the Minister restated his zero-tolerance stance on extortion, bribery and corruption, noting that such unethical practices if allowed to fester had the potency of derailing the SIM-NIN integration project.

Pantami said enrolment for NIN was free of charge, adding that on no account should anyone pay to obtain an enrolment form or to have their biometrics captured.

“All personnel involved in the enrolment and NIN issuance exercise must carry out their respective duties professionally, fairly and with integrity,” the statement stated.

It further added, “We wish to call on the general public to assist us in putting our commitments into action by sending proof of any nefarious activity within and around our enrolment centres.”

The statement urged the public to provide snapshots, footage and other proofs to help the government address the matter.

In a statement issued by the Association of SIM Registration Agents, Kwara State Chapter on Friday in Ilorin, the group said millions of Nigerian youths had been rendered jobless by the recent suspension order.

The association therefore urged the Federal Government to withdraw the suspension order placed on sales, registration and activation of SIM cards.