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Nigerians Register For National Identity Card From Today (Posted 18th February, 2003) Tell your friends about this page! Email it to them.

From Today, all Nigerians who are 18 years and over will theNational ID Card Registration Scheme expected to register for the National identity Card. 60, 000 registration centres are in place for this exercise.

Historical Background 

The idea of the National Identity Card was first conceived in 1978. General Olusegun Obasanjo, then Head of State and Commander-in-Chief, pioneered the Implementation of the project through the establishment of the Department of the National Civil Registration (DNCR) by Decree 51 of 1979. The actual project implementation started  in 1982. However, with the exit of that administration, it suffered a series of controversies, difficulties and setbacks. 

On assumption of office, the present civilian government under President Olusegun Obasanjo, after a critical re-appraisal of the project decided to re-activate it. Unfortunately, the project ran into crisis of confidence as a result of doubts which the registration exercise created in the minds of many Nigerians. These doubts, and the subsequent controversies that bedevilled this programme prevented its early take off. But with a strong political will to ensure the successful implementation of  the project, the Federal Government has successfully resolved these doubts and controversies and the stage is now set for the commencement of the nationwide registration exercise on February 18, 2003.

Objectives of the Project

The objectives of the programme are, among other things:

i.    Registration of the citizens of Nigeria who at the commencement of the DNCR Decree have attained or subsequent attain the age of 18 years;

ii    Issuing to every person registered under the programme with a National Identity Card;

iii.  Collating all the information returned by the registrars in pursuance of their duties under the Decree and producing such information as may be required from time to time. 

Benefits of the Programme

Some of the benefits that may be derived from a successful implementation of the programme are:

i.    Identification of all Nigerian adult citizens.

ii.   Effective control of illegal immigrants. Although Nigeria remains a big brother in the West African sub-region and may therefore accommodate some citizens of the neighbouring states in the spirit of ECOWAS. It is still important for us to know those who are truly Nigerians and those who are not.

iii.  Availability of comprehensive and reliable data for planning purposes by various agencies of government. For instance, with the National Identity Card project, Government will be able to classify citizens in to their different occupational groups like farmers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, etc.

iv.   Effective validation of other civic documents and licenses. The Identity Card would easily replace other civic documents like certificates of States/Local Government of Origin. The stress which Nigerians go through to obtain these other documents would be avoided.

v.    Assistance in the  apprehension and conviction of criminals.

vi.   Reliable personal identification for the purpose of commercial transaction with banks, post offices, etc.

Date & Duration 

A Specimen of The Nigerian ID CardThe National Civic Registration Exercise shall commence on Tuesday February 18, 2003 throughout the federation. The first phase or general registration will last two weeks ending on March 1, 2003. Thereafter, registration and amendment of personal data shall continue in all Local Government offices on a daily and on routine basis.

It is advisable that all eligible Nigerians register during the general registration exercise as subsequent registration shall not be general but meant for those who will attain the age of 18 afterwards. The earlier we register therefore, the better since as the old adage goes,  “make haste while the sun shines”.

Adequate provision has been made to ensure that the registration exercise is completed in two (2) weeks. All eligible Nigerians should therefore endeavour to register promptly to avoid last minute rush and undue clamour for extension of time.

Registration Centres

The first general registration exercise will take place in 60,000 Registration Centres nation-wide. The Registration centres are located in all the Local Governments, wards and units in all parts of Nigeria. These centers are not difficult to locate. Each centre will be clearly identified by DNCR banners.

Every eligible citizen of Nigeria is expected to be registered at a centre nearest to his place of origin as the data collated will reflect place of origin. After the general registration, Nigerians who subsequently attain the age of 18 will be registered in any Local Government Area Office.

Procedure for Registration

The procedure for registration is as follows:

An eligible citizen will present himself for registration at the Registration Centre nearest to his residence

ii.   The DNCR officials shall then ask such questions that will assist them to determine the eligibility or otherwise of the person intending to register in the National Identity Card project. The questions are not difficult to answer. They concern such basic information as Name, Age, Sex, Address, Occupation, State, LGA, Ward, etc.

iii.  The height measurement of the eligible citizen shall be taken by a DNCR official.

iv.   The fingerprint (thumbprint) of the qualified person shall be taken by the official.

v.    An official of the DNCR will take a photograph of the eligible citizen. These photographs shall not be paid for by the citizens.

vi.   In fact, no one is expected to pay any amount for any thing in the scheme.

Multiple Registrations

The DNCR is using sophisticated equipment capable of detecting multiple registration nationwide. One disadvantage of the multiple registration is that the computer, using thumbprints, validates only one of the multiple registration. In a situation where the computer picks the false name first, this becomes the registered name of the citizen. This will consequently create a crisis of identity for the citizen for the rest of his life.

Registration Officials

There shall be four DNCR Registration officials in each of the 60,000 units. The officials are:

i.    The Supervisor

ii.   The Interviewer

iii.  The Camera man

iv.   The height measurement clerk.

These officials will be properly identified by their DNCR nametags. The essence of having four (4) in each unit is to facilities speedy registration and avoid unnecessary waste of time.

Special Provision for Women

The DNCR has made special provision for women especially in places where the culture does not permit the mingling of men with women. In such places only DNCR officials who are women shall handle the registration of this category of people, particularly in the areas of height measurement and thumb printing.

Civic Duty

The National Identity Card is the right of every Nigeria who is 18 years and above. It is to be issued to all eligible Nigerians free of charge. The identity card will give its holder a truly authentic Nigerian identity. Apart from fostering among Nigerians, a sense of pride and belonging to the nation, it will also bestow credibility on the personality of the owner. With it, business partners within and outside Nigeria will feel safer and more confident doing business with us knowing our personal identities.

In fact, with time, the possession of a National Identity Card will facilitate access to healthcare delivery, education, library facilities, admission into institutions of learning; acquisition of passport, drivers license, and commercial transactions in such places like Banks and Post offices.

It is for the above reasons that it is extremely desirable for all eligible Nigerians to register and obtain the National Identity Card. It is a once in a lifetime project. To miss your chance now is to deny yourself of your Nigerian Identity. This programme is obviously beneficial to both the government and the citizens.

All eligible Nigerians are therefore urged to take advantage of this laudable programme and identity themselves formally.

Let us all support this programme and ensure its success.

Mostly culled from IDENTIFY YOURSELF, a publication of the National Orientation Agency of the Nigerian Government

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