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NIMC mute on differences between new ECOWAS ID, ongoing NIN registration

Many Nigerians who have either gotten their National Identity Number (NIN) from the National Identity management Commission (NIMC) or not, have been thrown into confusion following last week’s announcement by the Minister of Interior, retired Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, announced the production of an Identity card for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for Nigerians.
Issues that need to be clarified on the differences between NIN registration and the new ECOWAS ID scheme include whether those already with NIN will still need to register for ECOWAS ID or not; which agency is in charge of registering for ECOWAS ID; who will provide facilities for local registration considering the fact that registration for NIN is a hidden charge of N500 which is always denied by NIMC but it is real centres far from developed axis.
Many of the NIMC staff at designated centres and business centres claim that they ask for the amount to buy fuel, data and stationeries as they were not provided by the Commission in the first instance.
Several calls and sms sent to public affairs department of NIMC on the issues raised were not answered nor replied
Dambazau had explained after last week’s Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting that the new ID followed the approval of the committee of Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS that the Identity Card should be produced for all its member countries.
According to him, “I presented a memo on the production of ECOWAS biometric identity card. This is in response to the decision of the committee of Heads of State and Government, taken sometime in 2014, to replace the current ECOWAS travel certificate. This was to take effect in January 2019.
“The project is to cost about N14.7 billion and this is a contractor financed project and what that means is that the service provider is to use his funds to finance the project.”
“The contract will be for a period of 10 years and within those 10 years, it is expected that about 13 million cards would be produced.”
While believing that the new identity card would help enhance security at all Nigerian borders, the Minister noted that “Currently the ECOWAS travel certificate in use does not have biometric features and so it is subject to abuse and can be produced anywhere without room for checking the background of the holder. But the new identity card carries the photographs, fingerprints and other details of the card which can be checked instantly.”
“It will reduce the time spent at entry points and it will also help the Interpol identify persons involved in cross-border criminal activities,” Dambazau averred.