President Mohammdu Buhari says every Nigerian of voting age should register and acquire National identity card, as it would in the future complement the Voters card.

Buhari who registered and received his national identity card on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja urged Nigerians to embrace the exercise as it would be helpful to the country’s political and economic development.

“This exercise (National Identity card registration) is very important to confirm our population and those who are entitled to vote, that is those who are 18 years and above. It will complement the exercise of the permanent voters’ card, Buhari said shortly after completing the exercise.

“So, for those who want their votes to count from whichever party or constituency, they should ensure that they and their families are properly captured,” he stressed.

The Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, Mr. Chris Onyemenam who supervised the presidential registration disclosed that about 7 million Nigerians have so far registered during the pilot phase of the project and that they are ready to quadruple the number of registered people.

“The close to seven million that we have in our data base is the product of the pilot scheme that we embarked upon to demonstrate the value of the scheme. Now that the MDAs are going to step up the harmonisation, the data base will be populated in a matter of weeks.  “We are truly on course and appreciate Mr. President for that recent directive that biometrics data bases in government agencies should be expeditiously harmonised. As a matter of fact, we are at the stage of migrating the data from the Bank Verification Number and that is about 20 million.

Mr. Onyemenam also assured that more registration centres would open to  serve more people, especially at the local government levels. “This exercise is not a one off thing in the sense that there is no time limit. It is a continuous exercise. So every enrolment centre that we have established remain open forever, they are like branches of banks. “We are taking deliberate steps to ensure that enrolment centres are opened in each local government. In collaboration with MDAs, we are now extending it to universities. It will also be extended to primary schools and hospitals.”

He explained further: “With the cooperation we expect from INEC, it will be extended even further. Because of the records of births and deaths that are the primary responsibility of the Nigerian Population Commission, it will even become wider because there are more centres for the registration of births and deaths.

“Once a centre is established, it remains there and people can go their and enroll at their convenient time. They will do the pre-enrollment first because going to any centre for the biometric data capture,” he said.

By Olisemeka Obeche


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