The House of Representatives has directed its Committee on Population to investigate the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, over the registration of Nigerians for the National Identity Number, NIN.
The decision followed a motion of Urgent Public Importance moved by Rep. Ben Igbakpa (PDP-Delta) during plenary presided over by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila on Wednesday.
The Federal Government reportedly made NIN, the national identity card, as a requirement for all financial and institutional dealings in the country with millions of Nigerians yet to get it.
The motion is tagged “The Need for the PTDF to Suspend the National Identity Number as a Precondition for Scholarships, and Related Matters”.
Presenting the motion, Igbakpa said that the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, had announced that applicants for its 2020 scholarship for Masters and PHD degrees must have a NIN and verify before applying for the scholarship.
The lawmaker alleged that the registration process of NIMC was “laborious and slow nationwide” and attributed it to inadequate facilities and manpower.
“The Director-General of NIMC, Mr Aliyu Azeez, recently admitted in a national daily that they are overwhelmed with work because, whereas they need about 4,000 centres nationwide, they make do with only 1,000 centres at the moment.”
Mr Igbakpa called for the suspension of the NIN as a requirement for prospective applicants for the 2020 PTDF scholarship.
The lawmaker said that PTDF making NIN a prerequisite for its scholarship was undermining efforts at developing the nation’s human capital development.
“The motion is about trying to save our manpower; NIN, as a prerequisite for PTDF scholarship should not be supported and I urged the house to use other (officially) recognised means of identification.”
He also called on other government agencies to suspend requirement of the NIN in any registration or application and urged that the PTDF provide at least one year moratorium for applicants who have not obtained the NIN to do so.
Also speaking, the Deputy Chief Whip, Rep. Nkiruka Ihejiocha called on the house to investigate NIMC over reasons why just few Nigerians had got the NIN cards.
“We have to go beyond suspending the use of NIN because the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) recently also had to suspend the requirement of NIN for registration of exams.
“We need to investigate why the delay in people not getting the NIN.”
Rep. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP-Abia) urged the committee to interface with the agency and “not suspend the requirement of NIN”.
The Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu added that “someone is not doing their job and we have to investigate why it is difficult for Nigerians to register”.
“The committee should investigate why it is impossible for Nigerians to be registered and report back to the house in two weeks.”
Mr Okechukwu suggested that NIMC come up with a change in the mode of registration and take the facilities also to schools to capture students.
Rep. Ademorin Kuye (APC-Lagos), however, said that the PTDF and other government agencies should not suspend the requirement of NIN as a prerequisite for registration.
“Getting a scholarship is a privilege and if a person wants to enjoy that privilege, get the required means of identification.
“When JAMB suspended the requirement of NIN for the conduct of its examinations, registration at NIMC office stopped. All agencies must demand the NIN or else we will not move forward.”
The house, however, called on the Federal Government to put an integrated system for data collection in place for agencies responsible for data collection.
It said that the Local Government Indigenous Certificate be used in place of NIN and also mandated the Committee on Population to investigate the non-access of the identification number by Nigerians.
The lawmakers also urged the Federal Government to properly fund and equip NIMC for speedy and efficient nationwide delivery.