WE HAVE always state that strong institutions are the only panacea to good governance. Be it military, police, civil organisations, service providers, et al. Without strong institutions, the society will continue to flounder, wobble and fumble.
There are basic institutions that must never be compromised. The first is the ability to have an acceptable, widely recognised ruling class, duly elected according to the laws of the land. We have many times praised Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as improving yearly.
The second is identity management of the citizens. When President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was insistent on the issue of Bank Verification Number and National Identification Number, we applauded him and Nigerians have started seeing the rationale behind this, albeit in small things.
That is why it saddens the mind to see that National Identity Management Commission is trying to taint the progress recorded so far with the “Nigerian Curse”.
After ineffective management and inability to provide cards for registered citizens, NIMC came out with an ingenuity that makes the individual carry his or her identity on his or her smart phone. This comes without a fee.
But the issue becomes absurd when the owner of the identity wants to print it; he must part with N1, 200.63, taxes inclusive.
NIMC is not a revenue generating institution. One now wonders why the craze to further impoverishes Nigerians. It becomes worse, if by an act of omission or commission, an individual has issues with his or her date of birth. Apart from the statutory spending of affirmation of affidavit and placement in newspapers, such individuals would still cough out about N17,000 to effect such changes.
Who and what determines how much is charged? The National Assembly should as a matter of priority ensure that NIMC rescind these absurd fees.
The issue at stake is to have a reliable robust identity management database that would be useful for development data generation, security architecture development and banking and enterprise development and not to further impoverish Nigerians and enrich the pocket of some few individuals.
If NIMC budget is not enough, all these should be factored in for it to give good identity management services to Nigeria.
The National Assembly should ensure that some service institutions stay as such and not be forced to become revenue generating institutions. This is one avenue that Nigerians can enjoy dividends of democracy.
NIMC should as a matter of urgency tweak its app and ensure it works across all devices. It claims it works on Androids 5 and above, this is not so. If this would be universal, it must be available to all citizens, irrespective of status.
Its phone number linkage should also be tweaked to ensure linkage within 48 hours. Identity management requires speed as it requires efficiency especially if it would be useful for security architecture.
After INEC, NIMC is fast becoming another institution Nigerians can be proud of!