Easing the hiccup in National ID Card registration
Easing the hiccup in National ID Card registration
By Daniel Ighakpe

The new National ID Card registration process has been ongoing for quite a long time now. The registration has also been made mandatory. However, there are several problems that are currently hindering the smooth flow of the registration process. One of such problems is the delay and unnecessary stress that individuals experience from day to day in their attempts to register for the new National ID Card.
First, when a person arrives at the office of the National Identity Management Commission, located in his or her Local Government Council Secretariat, where the registration process is usually carried out, he would usually meet a crowd of people already gathered around the premises of the NIMC registration centre. Then if he manages to gain access to any of the NIMC’s officials and inquires about the requirements for registering for the new National ID Card, he is usually asked to go to a nearby Business Centre to get the registration form, or to visit a Cyber Cafe and download and print the registration/enrolment form from the NIMC’s website, fill the form, and bring back to the registration centre, usually on a specified date. 

Regarding this practice, some questions arise: Is the NIMC registration centre ordinarily not supposed to be responsible for issuing the hard-copy of the enrolment forms free-of-charge to those wishing to register for the new National ID Card?… Must those wishing to register for the new National ID Card have to go to a Business Centre or a Cyber Cafe to get the enrolment form, at their own expense?…All these contribute to the unnecessary stress and expense encountered by those seeking to register for the new National ID Card. 

Then, on returning to the registration centre with the completed forms and other necessary documentation, one is asked to queue up, usually among a crowd of other people who have come for the same registration process. And usually, not everyone who spends precious time waiting on the queue is attended to eventually! People, including the elderly, can spend several hours waiting for their turn, or can even spend the whole day at the NIMC registration centre. 

It has also been observed that Bank Verification Number (BVN) is usually requested when submitting your enrolment form. What about the people who do not have a bank account?… Will they be automatically denied the opportunity of registering for and getting the new National ID Card simply because they do not have or operate a bank account, and therefore have no Bank Verification Number (BVN)?…There have been stories of people who have been turned back, refused to be attended to, because they did not have a BVN. All of these make the process of registering for the new National ID Card a difficult, stressful and frustrating process!

Also, in this period of the Coronavirus pandemic, many people are being exposed to unnecessary health risks, as they attempt to register for the new National ID Card, especially with the crowd that is almost always found around the registration centres. There is usually difficulty maintaining social distancing in those circumstances because of the usually small space that the NIMC office and its surroundings usually occupy, compared to the crowd that is usually present at the registration centres.

At times also, the registration centres experience some problems, such as electric power outage, problems with their generating sets, and even problems with their computer networks which sometimes make it difficult for them to access the data associated with BVN numbers. When these problems arise, it only adds to the stress and frustration of the people who have come for the registration process! Some, after they have waited on the queue, standing for several hours, are even later asked to go back home, without having accomplished what they have waited so painfully and patently for. These include even the elderly, who also have to stand on queues for long periods of time. Hours that should have been better utilised on more productive engagements have been wasted at the registration centres, and this may even have occurred on several days/occasions.

In view of all the problems, challenges and frustrations currently being experienced during the process of registering for the new National ID Card, the concerned authorities should kindly look into these issues, and make necessary inputs/adjustments, such as increasing the number of registration centres; etc, in order to ease the stress and suffering currently being experienced by the masses.
Daniel Ighakpe wrote from Lagos and can be reached through: danny.ighakpe@gmail.com

In this article:
Easing the hiccup in National ID Card registration
National identity card by NIMC

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