The on-going National Identity Number registration at the National Identity Management Commission was disrupted on Tuesday afternoon, as gunmen suspected to be cultists stormed the commission’s premises in Port Harcourt.
Though the mission of the men, numbering seven, with some holding guns was not known, but eyewitnesses said they descended on one of the applicants, collected his mobile phone, and collected monies from others before leaving, even as the action caused panic, as some applicants fled.
The men numbering seven, with some holding guns, beat up a young man in what is believed to be a suspected cult clash.
Our correspondent gathered that the armed men were invited by one of the young men after an argument with another NIN applicant.
An eyewitness who recounted the incident said, “Some guys came here yesterday (Tuesday), there were seven of them. Some of them were armed with guns. So they beat him up, collected his phone, and collected some money from other people.
“They now left, that they will still come back. That they will scatter this place. And the crowd here was too much. Some guys who are coming here, they are not coming here to do anything but to steal phones and collect money from people.
“Around 1:30pm to 2pm. As you see them, not everybody came here to do the NIN. Some just came to steal. The police were inside. Here, nothing like security here,” he explained.
Some of the NIN applicants said the police had not visited the area since the incident, even as most of the NIMC offices in Port Harcourt are usually locked from inside, while applicants wait outside.
When contacted, the Rivers State NIMC Coordinator, Amonia Oghenekaro, confirmed the incident, saying “Our lives are in danger.”
Oghenekaro further said a lot of crime, including pickpocketing, go on outside the premises, noting that “I have an appointment with the Commissioner of Police tomorrow (Thursday).
“I will ask him to give us some of his men because they said (gunmen) they will come again. Our lives are in danger. We have some policemen here, but they are inside, while the applicants are outside. But we (staff) are not even safe inside. So until I meet with the Commissioner,” she added, just as she urged the applicants to conduct themselves properly and stick to the dates of their invitation.
But the spokesman for the State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, said the matter has not been reported to the police, though he promised to find out and get back to our correspondent, but had not done so as of the time of filing this report.