Kenya: Nubians Fear Being Locked Out of Niims Registration for Lack of IDs

The Nubian community has expressed fears that its members risk being locked out of the ongoing National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) registration, popularly known as Huduma Namba, since most of them don't have national identity cards.

They said they could miss out on crucial government services as a result.

Through the Nubian Rights Forum, the community accused the government of unfairness when vetting minority groups in the country, saying most of its members have waited for more than 15 years to get national identification cards.

The forum's Chairman, Mr Shaffi Ali Hussein, said they now want the government to enact a law to guide the vetting and issuing of ID cards to minority groups.

"We do not want political favours or goodwill but a law to help us acquire identification cards. We are being treated as if we do not belong here, yet we have been here since before independence. We have very many cases of Nubians being frustrated when they try to get identification documents," said Mr Hussein yesterday at the forum's office in Makina, Kibra Constituency in Nairobi.

One such case is that of Ms Samira Babu, who has been waiting to get an ID for two years despite undergoing vetting, her mother swearing an affidavit, and getting a waiting card.

"It has been a battle. Once I was told to start afresh because my file was lost. Another time I was told that my birth certificate was a forgery. I have done everything necessary but still haven't got an ID," said the 20-year-old.

Equally frustrated is Mr Ahmed Khalil Kape, who lost all his documents in a house fire. The 72 year-old, who served in the police force between 1965 and 1972 before he fell sick, says he was given an abstract but his chances of getting a new ID card are dim, since he has been told that the government does not have his records.

"I have gone round in circles, being told that my records are missing, yet I served the same government as a police officer. My police number was 17429 when I joined Kiganjo in 1965, where I was in Squad 18. We should be told whether we are lesser Kenyans," he said.

Mr Hussein appealed the government to obey the court orders not to force people to register or deny them services, as well as come up with a law on data protection to safeguard individuals' personal information, claiming that NIIMS data had already been hacked in Machakos County.

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