Obasanjo expresses concern over exclusion of rural dwellers from National ID card scheme

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

A former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Monday asked that rural dwellers not be left out in the procurement of the national identity card as they formed the bulk of the population.

Mr. Obasanjo said this when he was presented his identity card by the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, at his home in Abeokuta.

He expressed concern over the process of activating the card, acknowledging that he got special treatment activating his.

“How will ordinary people be treated?” he asked. “How much facility on the card is useful to them? What is the penalty for losing the card?”

He urged the management of the Commission to make the national identity cards available to all eligible Nigerians.

He recalled that he first introduced the card in 1979 while he was then military head of state and it was to cost N16 million.

“When I broached the subject of identity card in 1979, there were protests by those who felt otherwise,” he said. “Today, I’m happy there is no objection. What Sagem gave us was not this sophisticated. Maybe we are getting the best, maybe not. I hope what we have now can be updated.”

The former president, however, expressed optimism that the card would enhance security and make intelligence gathering more effective.

The Director General of the commission, Chris Onyemenam, said all issues raised by the former leader were already being addressed. He assured that the rural dwellers would be adequately covered.

The commission boss said farmers in Kogi state were already being used for the pilot scheme in the rural areas where issues of internet access and illiteracy posed challenges.

Mr. Onyemenam disclosed that the project would cover Nigerians from 16 years and above.

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