Daily Champion (Lagos)

6 March 2005

Nigeria: Shocker Over National Identity Card Scheme

Yola — THE last word may not be heard at the scan-filled National Identity Card scheme, two years after it was carried out. This time, shocking revelation in Adamawa indicates millions of aliens registered, thereby defeating one of the objectives of the scheme.

Worried by the discovery, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has asked officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service to strictly monitor the distribution of the identity cards in the state.

Speaking with newsmen shortly after the flagging off ceremony for the distribution of the ID cards in Yola by Vice President Atiku Abubakar, last Friday, Dr. Ayu who said he was disturbed by the development assumed that measures have been put in place to ensure that only Nigerians eventually get the National ID card.

"We have discovered that some aliens did register for the Nigeria ID cards but we have also asked the Nigerian Immigration Service to be part of the distribution to ensure that only Nigerians get the cards," he said.

Governor Boni Haruna of Adamawa State who spoke earlier had called for security measures to forestall the cards from getting to the hands of aliens.

"As a border state, we must be worried about the need to ensure that the ID cards are not hijacked by foreigners who may collude with Nigerians," he said.

He noted that despite the initial difficulties, the National ID Card scheme has finally taken off.

Governor Boni Haruna, commended President Olusegun Obasanjo for finally breaking the jinx surrounding the National ID Card scheme.

Governor Haruna also commended the National Assembly for using their oversight functions to ensure that the National ID Card scheme became a reality.

"Like the General System for Mobile Phone GSM revolution, President Olusegun Obasanjo must be commended for breaking the jinx surrounding the national identity card project," he said.

Governor Boni Haruna and some top government functionaries were the first to collect their cards from Vice President Atiku Abubakar at the occasion.

Meanwhile, the Vice President Atiku Abubakar has assured that government will continue to focus on projects and programmes that will improve the lives of Nigerians.

Vice President Atiku gave the assurance at the flagging off ceremony for the distribution of National Identity cards in Yola, Friday.

Vice President Atiku who assured that the Identity cards will facilitate and enhance government planning and development process also urged beneficiaries to protect and cherish the cards.

He noted that the programmes of the government are intended to improve the lives of Nigerian.

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