Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The workers’ union of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has urged the federal government to seek the support of NIMC to give accurate data on number of the poor and vulnerable people requiring palliative in the light of the COVID-19 crisis.
The union Chairman of NIMC, Lucky Michael Afelokhai, said the controversy surrounding the federal government’s COVID-19 palliative distribution can be bridged if there is identity authentication of the recipients.
He proffered the use of the National Identity Number (NIN) and payment applet embedded in the GMPC e-ID card issued by the NIMC as solution to the identity gap.
Afelokhai noted that while National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its executive summary of the 2019 poverty and equality report released last week put the number of the poor people in the country at 82.9 million or 40.1 per cent of the population, the National Social Register of poor put the numbers of the vulnerable households and individuals at 2.6 million and 11 million respectively.
The NIMC union called on the attention of the government, saying the nearest solution to the conflicting data is to use the NIN issued by NIMC for authentication of the real vulnerable people.
He also noted that such will address the criticism that has trailed the distribution of government conditional cash transfer, which has been high jacked by middlemen at the expense of the vulnerable households.
“The Bank Verification Number (BVN) with its about 40 million records is restricted to holders of bank account numbers, which most vulnerable Nigerians don’t have, while INEC with record of over 84 million registered voters is largely restricted to Nigerians of voting age from 18 years and above. The instances of disappearance of COVID-19 index cases in some states without traces can be taken care of by their NIN especially if NIMC is adequately funded,” Afelokhai said.