Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta says registration for national identity card through the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) will provide appropriate figure of the country’s population for effective national planning.
The governor stated this on Monday in Asaba, in an interview with newsmen to mark the maiden nationwide celebration of National Identity Day.
He said that government at all levels would plan better and give proper attention to security in the country with proper documentation of Nigerians by NIMC.
“I am glad that we have a national identity day, and that Sept. 16 of every year has been set aside for the celebration. It is my prayer that as a country, we are going to walk the talk.
“It is not just enough to have a day set aside; it is about the passion and commitment of everybody involved to ensure that it works for us.
“We know that getting Nigerians to register with NIMC is very important to us as a country. Proper documentation will facilitate all kinds of planning, because the greatest challenge we have as a nation is planning.
“We can only do properly when we have the figures right; most times, we use projections because various demography needed for planning are not in place.
“It is also very important, and concerning issues of intelligence and security, I think that this makes it very key for us as a nation for everybody to support this course and ensure that it is not a one-day advocacy.
“Security challenges will be curbed by the time we are able to have Nigerians properly registered and documented,’’ the governor said.
He urged the Federal Government to ensure that every Nigerian was registered, “because from the statistics, we have just about 20 per cent of Nigerians registered with NIMC, which is still a very far cry from what we deserve.
“So, I hope that this recognition and this day will ensure that we put everything in place so that when we celebrate the second anniversary of the national identity day, we will be talking about registration figure that is encouraging.
“I commend you (NIMC) for the work you have done; you need a lot of advocacy.
“We will try to take it through the social media, through the press, through the political class, and I believe that will certainly make it more impactful.”
On her part, the Coordinator of NIMC in the state, Henrietta Okolo, said “we are celebrating the national identity day in our special way in Delta.
“We are encouraging every Nigerian to go to the nearest enrolment centre and get enrolled for life; it is free and everybody is meant to do it.
“From the records, we have so far enrolled over 36 million Nigerians nationwide, but in Delta, we have enrolled about one million persons which is a far cry from the population of the state and we need to do more.”
Okolo commended Okowa’s administration for its support to the commission and appealed for the sustenance of the relationship.