NIN: PUTTING THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE BY CHIEF MALCOLM EMOKINIOVO OMIRHOBO

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    For any country to insist that it’s citizens must mandatory have a national identification number the country itself must provide an enabling environment to make the registration exercise work.

    First and foremost, the country must have the record of its latest population census and a working and active statutory regulatory body to collect, analyze and disseminate demographic data in the country. In Nigerian this condition is lacking because we do not have our latest population census report or any at all . We don’t know how many we are, we don’t know how many males or females we have, how many children and how many old persons we have. We do not record our births and deaths. We do not have the number of Nigerians employed both at the public and private sectors. All because our National population commission is not working and active despite the enormous funds allocated to it yearly. All we dwell on is estimation.

    The second condition is that the country must have secured its borders by monitoring and controlling the number of aliens that enters the country. This is not so in Nigeria where the Federal Government of Nigeria has failed to secure its porous borders. Today we have millions of illegal aliens residing in Nigeria that cannot be accounted for and millions of them are trooping in everyday with federal government policy encouraging them to come into Nigeria to settle down.

    The third condition is that the country must have security, a well organised one at that. In this area the Nigerian government has failed woefully.

    Having failed to meet these three conditions tell me why is the Nigerian government rushing, coercing and embarrassing Nigerians to have national identification numbers? What is the moral and legal justification for this? To this end, I dare say, that the extant NIN registration exercise is ueseless and is lacking in foundation. It is like putting the cart before the horse.

    Because of the above, the NIMC (National Identity Management Commission ) do not have in place the machinery to screen applicants and to verify the data submitted by them for registration of their NIN.

    There are no immigration officers to ask questions , no police intelligence report on the applicants, no profiling of the applicants, no verification of address, no verification of letter of approval from local government to ascertain where the applicants come from. In short there are no link between the government agencies and bodies that are supposed to be involved in the exercise .

    With all the above omissions and lousiness how can we as a nation rely on the NIN as a credible national data? To my mind it will be stupid of us to accept the out come of the extant NIN registration exercise as representing the true demography of Nigeria.

    I am one of the proponents of the school of thoughts that NIN violates the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens because it gives the government too much information and control over the individual. I am happy that my position is where Great Britain our colonial masters, the United States of America, Canada and other democracy that we want to be like stands.

    Great Britain, a country with an up to date population census report, secured borders and top notch security initially made it mandatory for her citizens to have Identity Cards via the Great Britain Identity Cards Act 2006 but had to repel it in 2011 and ordered that the National Identity Register (NIR), and all the National Identity Cards be discarded and destroyed.

    Nigeria, a follow follow country, without a population census report, without secured borders and without security copied the Great Britain Identity Cards Act 2006 by enacting the NIMC Act 2007 of Nigeria that requires that every Nigerian citizen must be registered with the NIMC so as to be assigned with NIN have ignorantly refused , failed and or neglected to repeal it and is now constituting nuisance to its citizens and waisting time and common wealth of Nigerians to fund the useless exercise that has no economic or security value or advantage to Nigerians.

    I don’t see why the Nigerian government is insisting on going on with the NIN exercise when we have more important issues like insecurity to tackle , population census to conduct, porous borders to block and poor economy to fix.

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