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Nigerians Lament Failure of NIMC To Produce National ID Card

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Nigeria News takes a look at the challenges the citizens face to register and collect the National Identity Card.

On March 4, 2005, I got the first National Identification Card when the Federal Government made it compulsory across the nation.

For many Nigerians, it was difficult getting it but for me, it was an easy exercise then. One of the ad-hoc staff of the National Orientation Agency who coordinated the registration was a neighbour.

She registered my wife and me and presented the cards to us in less than a week. The card has lived for 14 years in my wallet. It has seen the best of time, having travelled to banks, companies as a means of identification.

It has been photocopied many times. Presently it is faded and cannot serve the purpose anymore. My picture does not look like me anymore.

I had visited the National Identification Management Company (NIMC) at Alausa Secretariat Area Ikeja in 2014 as directed by the government to register for a new National Identification Card.

It took me almost a whole day to register and get captured electronically but five years after this exercise, it is shocking that the ID card is not yet ready.

A visit to the NIMC on Friday to collect my ID card revealed a country that is still groping with bureaucracy. There was mammoth crowd sitting on the lawn, floor and under the trees waiting to register for the National ID card.

The system is frustrating. Those who came to collect their cards like me left disappointed. At the collection centre, there were millions of cards but it was only for those who registered before 2013.

It is disheartening that this government cannot produce National ID for its citizens. Generating ID card should not be rocket science but in Nigeria, it is a hard nut to crack by successive governments.

The delay in issuing the national ID card has come with suspicion and pains. Most Banks have stopped identifying their customers with old ID cards.

To obtain a driver’s licence in Nigeria is a rigorous exercise that entails applicant to leave his work for a whole day to get captured at the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Office.

The story is not different at the Nigeria Immigration Service that issues an international passport. Besides the exorbitant cost of obtaining these documents, the loss of time, the pains and the rigours are enough for an average citizen to break down.

There are multiple procedures to get identification card from one sector to another, across the country, yet crime has continued to increase.

The various identifications, including the Biometric Identification Number introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Subscriber Identity Module, SIM card registration by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) have failed to trace crime.

With these and many more, crime is growing at an alarming rate. Kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery are steadily becoming a routine in the country.

One is poised to ask, why is it difficult for the government to produce a national ID card in one day? Is there a synergy between the NIMC and other security and economic sectors to curb duplication of identity?

How does an average citizen cope for five years without authentic mode of identification? These are questions begging for answers.

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