The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has begun the production of national identification cards.
The Director-General, NIMC, Mr. Chris Onyemenam, confirmed this in an interview in Abuja on Wednesday.
Onyemenam, who spoke through the Deputy Director, Corporate Communications, NIMC, Mr. Abdulhamid Umar, said the organisation had also achieved the personalisation of the identity cards.
He said, “We were told that personalisation of cards was not possible. However, I am happy to report that we have now achieved the personalisation of cards. The card carries chips that can be used to effect banking transactions.
“The personalisation of cards also means that it can be verified. If a card claims to represent a person, it can be taken to the backend to verify the details of the person that it identifies. There is a database on which the details can be verified. This means that the card cannot be forged.”
Onyemenam said although the agency had planned to start the issuance of the identity cards to those that had enrolled this month, this, would no longer happen because it had to be done in a formal ceremony when President Goodluck Jonathan would be available.
“The President is the first person that should be issued a card,” he added.
The NIMC had in April 2013 deployed equipment for the registration of citizens eligible for the issuance of identity cards in pilot registration centres. It has since been expanding the registration centres across the country.
Onyemenam said the agency was now recording more than 100,000 enrolments a day, adding that efforts were on to ensure that the exercise covered the 774 local government areas in the country.
The Federal Government had in 2001 awarded a contract worth $214m to a consortium led by a French firm, Sagem, for the production of identity cards for all Nigerian citizens.
The contract was marred by allegations that Nigerian officials collected more than $2m in bribes to influence the award of the contract in 2003.
The NIMC was established by the NIMC Act of 2007 to take over the functions, assets and liabilities of the Department of National Civil Registration, which handled the tainted identity registration process.
The NIMC is charged with the responsibilities of registering every individual in Nigeria, establishing and maintaining a national identity database as well as issuing of unique identification numbers to citizens and a general multi-purpose identity card. – Punch.