9 November 2012

Gambia: ID Card Applicants Complain of Delays Pro Immigration Explains

Many people express difficulties while in the process of seeking National identity card at the Gambis Immigration post at Kanifing estate where a large crowd was seen queuing to obtain an ID Card.

Complaints were made to this reporter on Monday 5th November by applicants who raised concerns and difficulties including long queues, long duration to receive one's card and the ticket.

Mr. Ceesay who appeared desperate when speaking to this reporter said that he applied for an ID card and it took him 22 days before he could lay hands on it. He said any time he goes to collect it, all they would say to him was 'they are not yet around' as if the immigration department is not the only place processing ID cards in Banjul.

Three young girls also approached this reporter to say that they have applied for ID card since last month but have lost their tickets and were asked to pay the application fees again.

At the Banjul Immigration Headquarters, one Mr. Modou Camara expressed his disappointment on the slow process of service delivery. He pointed out that he applied for an ID card but did not have it and his friend who applied three days after him received his own.

Readers would recall that Foroyaa had an interview with the Public Relation Officer of Immigration Assistant Superintendent of immigration Ensa Jawara on the delay in processing ID cards but he gave two weeks as the maximum time for one to get the ID card.

However, based on the claims made by the applicants, the said department was visited in Banjul to allow the authorities to shed light on the various concerns raised. The Public Relations Officer, Superintendent of Immigration Ensa Jawara insisted that the period for anyone applicant to have one's ID card is never more than a fortnight, even though the department is currently having one machine. He said his department is doing all they can to ensure that everyone has an ID card because he said this is helping them to do their work without having trouble with people for not having ID Card.

Responding to the question that if one pays for an ID card and your receipt is lost you would be asked to pay again; Superintendent Jawara dismissed that claim and said if any body is asked to pay for such, the individual should report the matter to the head office.

He also said the long queue the applicants complain about will soon be history as the department is doing all it can to improve and expand both human resources and infrastructure to be able to address the issue of the long queues.

Among some of the questions raised by the applicants was that if one applies for an ID card one is normally given a receipt. Since the processing of the ID card takes a long time before one gets it, some asked whether they could travel with the receipt and use it to pass check points.

Superintendent Jawara said the receipt is mainly to show that you have paid for an ID card but it's purpose is not to guarantee you or replace an ID card when travelling; adding that if you apply for an ID card and happen to travel before one lays hands on it, it would be left to the discretion of the immigration officer to review one's claims and decide what to do. Meanwhile, the Superintendent of Immigration Ensa Jawara also used this opportunity to advice all to move or travel with their ID cards.

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