Wednesday, October 05, 2011

New national ID card: Nigeria netizens petition FEC

Nigerian Internet citizens (Netizens) may have began mobilization against the recent approval of the Federal  Executive Council (FEC) for another phase of fresh national identity card project expected to gulp N30.66 billion, even as they petitioned FEC.

Netizens are persons who have become part of the Internet community in cyberspace, which is defined as a notional environment in which communication over computer networks occurs.

This kind of communication based on the internet involves a computer network consisting of a worldwide network of computer networks that use of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) cum Internet Protocol (IP), used to govern the connection of computer systems to the Internet TCP/IP network protocols that facilitate data transmission and exchange.

Lead organisers of netizens, most of whom are youths against the new ID project and the Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Mr. Gbenga Sesan, said that it is disheartening to note that at this era and time the federal government is still embarking on another identification card project after the recently Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) projects respectively.

In an open letter to the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, a copy of which was made available to ITRealms Online, the group which has at the time of filing this story gathered some 40 endorsements, stated that they received with shock the news that government at the end of its last FEC meeting on Wednesday, September 28, 2011, approved a fresh national identity card exercise at estimated cost of “over N30 billion.”

The letter tagged, ‘Re: New National ID Card exercise’ the Netizens, while thank the Minister for his continued effort towards making Nigeria a better place, noted that the proclamation on the fresh ID project calls for concern.

They recalled that not long ago, INEC spent the sum of N87.7 billion to gather biometric and additional N73, 528,040 on data, purposely for the 2011 April elections cum voters registration exercise.

Also, they called to mind that NCC recently was given N6.1 billion for the just completed registration of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards in the country for the estimated 60 million active lines, for yet another biometric data exercise.

“… It is surprising that another exercise that could have been built on the earlier efforts has now been approved,” the group decried.

This group of Netizens reminded Maku of the promise of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure efficient proper management of the nation’s meagre resources that have been kept in their trust.

“We write as concerned citizens who have been assured by experts that this huge waste of unavailable national resource can be avoided by utilising existing data,” part of the letter stated.

They, therefore, requested that Information Minister use his good offices to ask Mr. President, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian economy, to consider the revocation of this recently approved national identity card exercise.

“… Or provide convincing technical justification why such enormous national resources should be committed to an apparent duplication of efforts by the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Nigerian Communications Commission,” they insisted.

The letter, Sesan noted has been copied to the Presidency, Senate President’s Office, Speaker’s Office, Hon. Minister of Finance, Hon. Minister of Communication and Technology, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission.

According to him, the group warned that if its request is not met with adequate attention, they may be forced to fully mobilize the citizenry to boycott the intended new national ID card exercise.

“We will not hesitate to mobilise the citizenry to boycott the proposed national identity card exercise in order to drive home the point that Nigeria must not spend tomorrow’s resources to plug today’s waste,” the group submitted.

ITRealms Online recollects that FEC gave the approval for the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), to embark on the provision of an electronic national identity card for all Nigerians of 18 years old and above, at the cost of N30.66 billion.

Remmy Nweke:

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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