The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the government agency charged with the responsibility of enrolling and issuing Nigerians with national identity cards, has appealed for support from the federal government to enable it spread its activities across the country.
The Head, Corporate Communications of NIMC, Mr. Loveday Ogbonna who made the call in Abuja recently said the National Identity Management System (NIMS) project that is currently being embarked upon by NIMC, needed the full support of government to enable NIMC carryout enrollment of all adult Nigerians and present them with the national identity cards.
Since the commencement of enrollment and card issuance, many Nigerians are yet to be issued with the national identity cards and many have not registered owing to paucity of funds to drive operations in most of its centres.
THISDAY checks revealed that most centres in Lagos are poorly funded and are unable to procure the logistics for the enrollment and card issuance.
Ogbonna however assured Nigerians that everybody and all legal residents would get their National Identity Number (NIN) and their cards, if adequate funds were provided for the Commission’s operations.
“We are currently making efforts to get more support from the government and collaboration from the private sector to enable NIMC scale up its service delivery to Nigerians. We are also calling on community leaders, traditional rulers, religious and secular leaders, to help NIMC sensitise their subjects, especially those at the grassroots on the importance of NIMS project and the difference between the project and what we used to have which was centred more on card issuance than on identity management,” Ogbonna said.
Giving details of the volume of registration carried out so far, he said: “Enrollment is ongoing in the over 400 enrollment centres across the country every weekday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. We are also issuing the National e-ID Cards to successful enrollees in all the state offices and a few other special centres.”
He explained that in order to fast track the enrollment exercise, NIMC decided to offer special services to selected government officials, especially personalities like the president and former presidents of the country, governors and top government officials, who registered in 2015. He said they had since been enrolled and issued with the national identity cards, while NIMC is making efforts to issue national identity cards to other Nigerians who had earlier enrolled in 2012, 2013 and 2014, according to NIMC’s limited resources.
Addressing the discrepancies in the issuance of national identity cards, Ogbonna said: “The major reason why we paid special attention to selected persons like the president, vice president, and governors, is for endorsement purpose. Remember that Nigeria has been grappling with the issue of national identity management and national identity card for several years now, leading a lot of citizens losing faith in the whole project, and there are also misconceptions about the national identification number bothering on religion.”