Abuja - Identity registration of Nigerian citizens will begin nationwide in April 2013, the Director-General, National Identity Management Commission, Mr. Chris Onyemenam, has said.
Onyemenam said this when the Senate Committee on Identity and National Population Commission visited the headquarters of the agency in Abuja on Monday, according to statement made available to our correspondent by the agency’s Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Anthony Okwudiafor.
Similarly, Vice-President Namadi Sambo on Monday inaugurated a committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to midwife the streamlining of a centralised demographic database for the country.
Sambo, who is the chairman of the committee, identified its terms of reference to include the determination of the agency that had the constitutional responsibility to host the centralised database; as well as streamline efforts already being made by various agencies on the matter.
The new identity registration became necessary following the failure of an earlier exercise that was marred in a bribery scandal.
The Department of National Civic Registration that handled the exercise was subsequently proscribed and replaced with the NIMC.
Onyemenam said funds that had been released for the execution of the new national identity system in the current year had been judiciously utilised.
He emphasised that massive deployment and installation had been done at the back-end of the project at the NIMC headquarters, and at the back up site located in one of the North Central states.
Onyemenam listed some of the critical areas of the project to include maintenance/professional support, completion of ongoing renovations at all NIMC offices nationwide, awareness/enlightenment campaign, logistics supports and disengagement cost.
Others are upgrading and updating of the NIMS project, development and job completion, and the procurement and issuance of the general multi-purpose identity card.
The NIMC boss told members of the committee that part of the card personalisation devices had been deployed at the NIMC headquarters, while enrolment centres had already opened in Abuja and Lagos, and some specially designated centres such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, the National Assembly, and the Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
He said other centres used during the pilot and Prove of Concept would soon be opened permanently once they were certified, adding that NIMC was on course to meet up with the roll-out plan of April 2013.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Maina Lawan, called on the agency to quickly and urgently deliver on the identity management system.
Maina said the committee was in NIMC on a fact finding mission and to be abreast of the activities of the commission and the implementation of the NIMS project.
He said due to the importance of the NIMS project to the development of the country, the Senate gave 100 per cent approval to the project in the 2012 budget appropriation.
Maina said with the fact finding mission, the committee would have first-hand information to guide it on appropriation to NIMC in the 2013 budget appropriation.