by FRANCIS SUBERU
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State yesterday said what many Nigerians went through while searching for their permanent voter cards (PVCs) would not have been necessary had Nigeria succeeded in its previous attempts on the National Identity Card project.
The governor said this when he was officially presented with his ID card by Director-General of National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, Mr. Chris Onyemenam, at the Lagos House, Ikeja. Fashola, after receiving his Unique Identification Card said the country was paying for its failed previous attempts at capturing eligible individuals in the country in a common data base.
He said: “I need to emphasis that this is a very important undertaken for all Nigerians. What we have not got right in previous exercises we are all paying for now. One cannot really overemphasise the role common and reliable identity management exercise can play when government – whether at the state or federal level – can identify all the people it is responsible for.
“Government cannot provide services for people who will remain anonymous and the national ID card helps government in doing many things in terms of planning. If this had been done successfully, it would have eliminated or substantially reduced the stress we put ourselves through in order to get the PVC to vote.
“So, anyone who is involved in this must know that if he does it well, he is contributing to building Nigeria, and if he does it badly, he is undermining the country.” Earlier, Mr.Onyemenam had made a distinction between Unique Identification and ordinary card issuance; stressing thatunique identification is biometric-based.
His words:: “We are here to present your Identity Card to you and thank you for the support you have been giving to the commission. I recall that Lagos and Abuja are selected for the pilot scheme of the exercise.
We are presently operating from 23 locations and the expectation is to cover all the LCDAs. “The distinction between Unique Identification and Card Issuance is when a card is issued based on a unique data base, you are talking about a unique identification. It is usually based on unique set of standards, especially when it is founded on biometrics, like fingerprints, face or the eyes, or a combination of these.
“What the National Identity Management Commission is charged to do is to provide the foundation identity; so it becomes possible for all functional identities or registration to pick from.”
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