President Muhammdu Buhari has emphasised the importance of National identity card to all Nigerians of voting age. According to him, the card would in the future complement the Voters’ card.
The president, who registered on Tuesday at the presidential Villa, Abuja to obtain his national identity card urged Nigerians to follow suit.
Speaking to State House Correspondents after the registration that was supervised by Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr. Chris Onyemenam, Buhari said for the purposes of credible elections, Nigerians should ensure they get registered.
“I think this exercise 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,” the president said.
“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 said.
Also speaking, the DG, Mr. Oyemenam stated that the exercise has come to stay.
He hinted that about 7 million Nigerians have so far registered.
“On our data base, we have a record of seven million. In collaboration with other agencies, in the next three months or so, we hope to quadruple that number. In the past, the private sector was expected to perform that role, so government did not focus on that.
“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.
“As a matter of fact, we are at the stage of migrating the data from the Bank Verification Number and that is about 20million.
“We are truly on course and appreciate Mr. President for that recent directive that biometrics data bases in government agencies should be expeditiously harmonised,” the NIMC boss said.
The DG also assured that designated centres were open for service to the people, stressing that efforts were being made to create outlets 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.
“With the cooperation we expect from INEC, we are meeting INEC today, 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.