Oct 4, 2011 – Nigeria Federal Government faults criticism of proposed ID card project
The Federal Government has solicited the cooperation of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) and other Nigerians for successful implementation of the new National Identity Management System rather than condemning the exercise.
The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, made the call in a statement in Abuja on Monday.
The CNPP was reported to have opposed to the project on the ground that the Independent National Electoral Commission recently conducted a similar exercise before the 2011 general elections in April.
Maku said the CNPP’s opposition showed lack of understanding of the need for the proposed identity system which he said would be helpful in the management and operation of several key national institutions and security services.
“Presently, it is difficult to identify many Nigerians from foreign nationals in our midst because of the absence of a comprehensive identity system.
“It is in order to correct the past setbacks in the execution and completion of a national identity system for Nigerians that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) came up with this new initiative.
“ When completed, it will considerably bring down the cost of separate identity data banks presently managed by several federal agencies in the country.
“Rather than spend money to develop and manage these separate identity data banks, the Federal Government has decided to harmonise various data banks for common access by all institutions,” the News Agency of Nigeria quoted Maku as saying in the statement.
He also said that the recent data captured by INEC in the voter registration exercise would be useful for the project.
“The INEC data are expected to be networked with the new central identity data bank which will be updated and developed by the Galaxy Backbone, a government-owned ICT company.
“Unlike the INEC voter register which the CNPP recommended for conversion, registration for the proposed Integrated Identity Management System will be compulsory for all Nigerians of 18 years and above,” the minister added (The Nation).