Are we in trouble or what? Is a N30 billion ID card scheme what we really need now or to fix problems like the one the Permanent Secretary in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, is raising alarm about. He has warned that if something Is not done urgently, the River Niger Bridge in Anambra State may collapse soon.
Moddibo the other day was busy selling an abuja boulavard when housing is a problem, the power sector reform we really do not know the direction. I am indeed very worried.
Though it took his visitation by the Senate AdHoc Committee probing the utilisation of fund in the Transportation Sector for him to reveal this. But Baba-Ahmed, who was at one time Permanent Secretary in the Works Ministry, knows what he is saying when he stressed that the bridge was being poorly maintained.
Back to the ID card scheme expected to commence by the end of the year, the N30bn according to the Director-General /Chief Executive Officer of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr. Chris Onyem-enam, is expected to be used to upgrade the National Identity (ID) Card management scheme in the country to an international standard to create a national identity database.
The previous identity card scheme alleged to be riddled with fraud and which led to the removal of the former Minister of Internal Affairs, late Chief Sunday Afolabi, cost $215 million (N25.155billion). The project was handled by Sagem SA of France.
The national identity card scheme hitherto implemented by Directorate of National Civic Registration (DNCR) under the Ministry of Interior, has been transferred to NIMC. DNCR metamorphosed to NIMC following the repeal of the Act, which established DNCR last year and its assets and liabilities transferred to NIMC.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja at a pre-event on the forthcoming National ID Card Management Conference (another wastage venture) billed for between September 21 and 23 in Abuja, Onyemenam said the N30 billion is an estimated cost as the Commission had not taken into consideration the existing infrastructure inherited by NIMC from DNCR.
He said when the ongoing audit was completed; the total cost of the identity card scheme might be reduced.
Onyemenam, however, said the cost of the biometrics project is expected to be borne by the Federal Government and the private sector under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
He confirmed that already, the Federal Government had picked two consultants for the project (Iris One-CardSecure Consortium and Chams Consortium) to operate the front end of the project.
He was optimistic that the new state � of - the - art infrastructure that is expected to be built would provide a platform for effective management of the National ID card in the country.
Onyemenam expressed optimism that the new scheme would solve the problems of multiple registrations in the country as it would become the only instrument for identification in places such as hospitals, banks, embassies and others requiring identification.
The new scheme, he added, would make registration less cumbersome as registration would be decentralised and would become a daily activity.
Throwing more light on the plans of the scheme, the Director-General said: �Another infrastructure upgrade has to do with the creation of a secure National Identity Database with necessary authentication and verification infrastructure and full business continuity support so that it would be easy for anyone from anywhere within Nigeria to prove or assert his /her identity.
�Accordingly, to achieve this objective, the Commission is focused on expanding, extending and enhancing existing identity infrastructure and where necessary exiting obsolete technology and processes in order to establish a reliable, secure and scalable identity management system infrastructure that utilises advanced biometric technologies to uniquely identify every individual in the country.
�This strategy is what we have code- named 4Es through, which we ultimately hope to deliver in partnership with the private sector, a National ID Management System infrastructure upgrade that is consumer focused and sustainable,� he explained.