Empower NIMC to improve security, fight corruption, help vulnerable, Labour urges FG

LABOUR has appealed to the Federal Government to empower the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to take care of the vulnerable in the society, improve security situation and help in the fight against corruption.

The Chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), NIMC Unit, Comrade Asekokhai Lucky, made the appeal while speaking on the crucial roles and the responsibility the commission is supposed to play in the area of security, fight against corruption and reaching out to the vulnerable especially with the crisis of COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement issued and signed by the Union (unit) chairman, the  labour leader said since 27 February, 2020 the first index case of Covid-19 pandemic was recorded in the country, things  have never been the same again for Federal Government, state governments, local government areas and at the individual level.

He commended the Federal Government for taking all necessary actions to protect her citizens and legal residents;  provide succor such as palliatives to vulnerable Nigerians whose means of livelihood might have been affected by the government proactive measures; which include, lock down, curfew, and closing of borders, to curtail the spread and reduce mortality.

However, Comrade Lucky said the FG efforts regarding the palliative have been riddled with controversies owing to the fact that there was no identity authentication or real time identification of the recipients.

“This is a void the NIMC can bridge if not for neglect with the National Identity Number (NIN) and payment applet embedded in the GMPC e-ID Card issued by NIMC.

Quoting the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the labour leader noted that over 82.9 million Nigerians lived below the poverty line of N137,430 per annum which translates to about N375 per day; which by implication means that 40.1 per cent of the population live in poverty.

Also citing the records from the National Social Register of the Poor and Vulnerable Households Distribution by states as of March 31, 2020; he said the number of vulnerable households and individuals is about 2.6 million and 11 million respectively.

He said: “However, on April 2, 2020 the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouq, said that 2.6 million vulnerable persons are currently to benefit from the Federal Government cash transfer intervention programme.

“But ever since the FG kick started the palliative distribution programme and conditional cash transfer, several Nigerians had accused it of being hijacked by middlemen at the detriment of the real vulnerable households. Others argued that it was highly politicised or skewed to favour members of a particular political parties etc.

“These have made several concerned Nigerians to call for the adoption of digital payment method, others suggested to identify the vulnerable by BVN, INEC records etc.”

“Nonetheless, in the midst of these  intractable controversies, it is appalling and glaring that only a few spirited Nigerians like Nurudeen Alimi publication in Tribune Online of April 20, 2020 titled COVID-19: Place of NIMC in Access to Social Security /Palliative in Nigeria,’ had called the Federal Government attention to the nearest solution to the problem which is the use of the National Identification  Number  (NIN) issued by the National Identity Management Commission  (NIMC) to identify , authenticate and provide a real time identity of the real vulnerable.

“It is no doubt that NIMC has the only all-inclusive and reliable Database in Nigeria. BVN with its about 40 million records is restricted to holders of bank account numbers which most vulnerable Nigerians don’t have. INEC with  over 84 million records is only restricted to Nigerians of voting age from 18 years and above, FRSC, NIS, NCC-SIM registration as well have restrictions etc.

“The incidences of disappearance of COVID-19index cases in some states of the federation without traces or rather difficult to trace can be taken care of by their  NIN especially if NIMC is adequately funded to get all Nigerians registered and provided NIN  which is equivalent to USA Social Security Number, UK ‘s  National Insurance Number etc .

“Currently the about 42 million of Nigerians with their NIN registered with NIMC are actually inadequate for Nigeria’s about 200 million Nigeria population. Hence, this is why  the Labour Situation Room on Covid-19 on 11th May, 2020 called on FG to empower NIMC to register all Nigerians.”

The statement read: “In as much as the  COVID-19 had caused NIMC to halt enrollment as the staff are exposed to the hazards of physical contact with applicants or enrollees and other hazards as a result of daily exposure to computer rays for which the Union has been pursuing for the restoration of Hazard and other allowances, as well as Paramilitary Salary Structure to enable NIMC Staff deliver this all important National assignment seamlessly to Nigerians; we will also appeal to FG to please approve same for NIMC Staff.”

 

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