|Crowd Waiting To Register At An NIMC Office|
"If I don't have my phone, I don't make money," said Raphael Ajih, resting on a rusty metal chair, his hands clenched on his lap.
The government of Africa's most populous country has ordered telecom operators to block the SIM cards of anyone who fails to register for a National Identity Number (NIN) by February 9.
Across the country, many like Ajih are trying to comply with the directive, only to be frustrated by days-long waits to do the paperwork, often in large crowds despite the Covid pandemic.
The idea behind the NIN is to create a single ID database for Nigeria's 200 million people, replacing the hotchpotch of documents, from drivers licences to voter cards, that citizens use to identify themselves.