Nigeria: Extortion, power outage, ‘budget of food’, staff apathy… the national identity card project is failing

Published: 27/Sep/2017
Source: International Centre for Investigative Reporting - Nigeria

On August 1, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) announced that from January 2018, no Nigerian would be able to procure or renew an international passport without providing a National Identification Number (NIN). Coincidentally, that announcement came as ‘FISAYO SOYOMBO, Editor of the ICIR, was rounding off an investigation into the national ID enrolment process. His findings were discouraging. Extortion of members of the public, blackouts at enrolment centres, non-production of ID cards, staff disgruntlement and a budget that is heavy on food and wine but low on vital needs all prove that the project hasn’t fulfilled the objectives for which it was conceived 10 years ago.

Won s’epe fun o ni? Oo p’oo r’owo mi ni?” It is the driver bellowing in raw Ibadan accent, wondering if the road user behind him is “cursed” and if he “didn’t see his hand”. In Ibadan, it is de rigueur to drive cars without a functioning indicator, so long the driver is willing to flap his outstretched hand when turning left, and the passenger seated by him is willing to oblige in the case of a right turn.

A short, bald, old man with full Ogbomoso tribal marks, the driver decelerates on the dusty road and pulls over by a structure that, from the outside, looks like a kiosk. To the left is a wooden bench sitting three middle-aged men sipping dry gin in the scorching mid-day sun; and to the right, a door left ajar plus a ragged generator in a state of extended disuse.

The driver indicates it is time his passenger disembarked but the journalist-passenger imagines there has been a mix-up: only a carpenter’s shop can be around here; this ‘kiosk’ can surely not be the Ibadan North-East Local Government, Iwo Road office of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). But it is.

Anti, won fe register o, an elderly woman hollers at the NIMC official within.

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Themes: Cartes d’identité et passeports
Regions: Nigeria
Year: 2017