Marking a national day for Identity without ID Card confusing—Nigerians
The recent adoption and observance of every September 16 of year as National Identity Day by the Federal Government of Nigeria has come under serious division amongst security and digital surveillance experts.
Whereas the Federal Government, through the leadership of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) argues that the move a practical move to create awareness among the Nigerians on the importance of identification as a modern tool for national development and social cohesion, some experts say the drive will remain confusing until Nigerians, who have enrolled and got their National Identity Number (NIN) are given their real ID Cards.
Recall that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, had conveyed the government’s approval in a letter dated August 29, 2019 and addressed to the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Aliyu Aziz for the recognition of the date.
According to a security expert, Dr. Usman Magaji, “Nigerians deserve to know why NIMC have not been able to resolve its differences with Chams Group regarding the printing and issuance of National Identity Card.
“There seems to be an issue the agency had been covering from Nigerians on why it cannot give ID Cards to Nigerians as it is done in other parts of the world, rather it has been campaigning for NIN which is very hard for anybody to remember when needed.
“NIN to many Nigerians has no physical value except for official purposes but the critical issue that comes to mind whenever national identity of a people is on the table is the card and nobody can boost of having received one.
“Some of us saw when some top government officials were given their own and they flashed it on the TV, but when you go for you own, they will only printout a cheap document and give you instead of a real national ID which will clearly identify you wherever you go. That is the true essence of a National ID programme,” Dr Magaji averred.
Continuing on the same vein, a business operator in Lagos, who pleaded anonymity queried why Nigerians should be scammed by NIMC into believing that NIN should substitute an ID Card in this present generation of digital intelligence.
He said “If you go to Ghana today, citizens can boost of having their real ID Card called Ghana Card not less than one week after getting registered with the agency in charge of it. But here in Nigeria, NIMC is giving us an ordinary paper as our national ID card.”
“In fact, the truth is that currently, I don’t know where my NIN slip is and it is embarrassing that NIMC upon all the yearly budget, cannot give Nigerians ID card to move around with for easy identification.
On the plan by the Federal Government join the Coalition for International Identity Day without a true ID card is a scam and should be rejected by reasonable Nigerians because we do not have the card to join others.
Ghana, Cameroon and even Togo can join because they have their cards, but we the citizens of Nigeria do not have any ID card that will warrant any form of national observance.
Business Hilights gathered that in the letter signed on the SGF’s behalf by David K. Gende, the Director, Planning, Research & Statistics in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha conveyed government’s approval to the NIMC chief executive officer that Nigeria “should join the Coalition for International Identity Day,” in response to the latter’s earlier request.
The letter reads in part: “I am to inform you that the SGF has considered and approved (i) that Nigeria should join the Coalition for International Identity Day, which will recognise the role of identity management for proper planning, governance and efficient service delivery;
“(ii) that the National Identity Management Commission should proceed with educational and awareness campaigns on the proposed identity day to other public and private sector stakeholders including institutions in the movement.”
However, whereas Nigeria becomes the first country in the world to formally adopt September 16, otherwise called 16.9, as Identity Day (ID-Day); it is equally the first country to do so without its citizens possessing their national ID cards.