Awesome Articles on The Need For Nigerian National Identity
Are you ‘in the grid’?
Written by Esther Agbarakwe
For many Nigerians, the day we came into the world was never recorded with proof. We grew up finding ourselves at various crossroads when our birth certificate or any form of government identification is requested from us. But do we really need a National Identity and a National Identity card?
According to Wikipedia, National identity is a person’s identity and sense of belonging to one state or to one nation, a feeling one shares with a group of people, regardless of one’s citizenship status. Historically, the national identity of most citizens of one state or one nation tends to strengthen when the country or the nation is threatened militarily. The sense of belonging to the nation is essential as an external threat becomes clearer when individuals seek to unite with fellow countrymen to protect themselves and fight against the common threat. The Nigerian Government has invested tens of billions of naira in the past decade alone to ensure that her citizens and non-citizens are documented — tightening the border, accelerating deportations, deputizing local police — while doing loads of things to curb violence and security issues nation-wide.
Some critics will say we don’t need National identity expressed in a form of documentation, but it does seems to be the case that it is part of a modern world and can be potentially empowering and can also be a statement of political intent. What we now have in the 21st century includes; mass movement of people, more immigration and more clashes between people from different regions leading to the reconsideration about how important National Identity really is.
I remember with nostalgia, my first trip to the United States for a Global Youth meeting at the United Nations. My colleagues and I went to visit a state building as part of our cultural exchange, sadly I had left my National ID at home in Nigeria and did not have my International passport with me at the time. I was not allowed into the building. As young people, social interaction is a key form of cultural exchange when we are abroad or out of our local vicinity as such, places of interest when visited may require a government issued Identity Card. You do not want to go about every time with your International passport, risking it being misplaced. Best bet is to go about with your government issued ID in your wallet and/or purse. To enjoy the complete Post, Click here
Insecurity in Nigeria and how I almost became a Militant!
Written by Kolo Kenneth
My life as a recent graduate, done with my national youth service year, and now waiting to get that dream job, can be tasking a bit. I’m young and savvy; I like to move around a lot, not bogged down at one point for too long. There’s this volatility about this phase of life for most young people. The irony is, security is the most pressing issue for my country at this given time, and I have to be cautious of where I go, and when I’m on the move. I have heard of stories of young men, full of life, gunned down by militant fire, or by the Nigerian military, mistaken for the “enemy”.
It got to its height, when I went clubbing one fateful Friday evening. At a checkpoint, the policemen asked for my ID. My only valid one was my International Passport, which I do not carry around often, and didn’t have on me that night; and that was the beginning of a long night for me, which ended in me not leaving that post, till around 2:30am. I was angst, spoke all the English I knew, but they were not going to let me move an inch, without confirming my identity, else, they threatened that they will call in the SARS, and have me whisked away for interrogation as a suspected militant.
In the end, I got away with it, albeit late in the night, because I ended up begging them and parting with some money (against my will), but the next day, I went to the NIMC office in Jos to get registered for my National Identity Card.
Well, this could happen to you as regards identity or any other records someday, and to stop it from happening means you should get registered for your National Identification Number (NIN). This is issued by the National Identity Management Commission under the Ministry of Interior. The NIN collates your vital records and stores it up in one unified database which can then be used subsequently by federal authorities. To enjoy the complete Post, Click here
Who Carries International Passport Around?
Written by Adeyemi O.J
The answer to the above question is; Nigerians. Okay, but how do we verify our identities? How do we receive Western Union, Money Gram and all? We have no other choice than to carry our international passports around, like mobile phones. Little wonder some people’s international passports are now looking like an old newspaper.
In my first semester in the university, I went with two of my friends to buy clothes at Yaba, the “stop and search” policemen mistook us for Yahoo boys (internet fraudsters) and we were asked to identify ourselves, my friends did but I couldn’t. I was a jambito (freshman) and our ID cards were not ready. Passers-by were already gathering, I had to do something. So, I sluggishly brought out my bank ID card (LOL). One of the policemen almost slapped me, out of annoyance. That would have been the first day I would be handcuffed, if not for an angel (a woman passing by) that came to my rescue. To enjoy the complete Post, Click here
I Thought It Was Never Going To Be…
Written by Benedict Oji
I felt let down and embarrassed, in fact I was made to stay more than 3hours in a banking hall because my identity was in “question”, thus I could not access my bank account. The branch I visited happened to be in Abuja whereas my account was domiciled in Lagos. In sheer exhibition of their archaic but shrewd mode of operation the bank’s operations manager made some fruitless phone calls to their Lagos branch in order to verify my claim to the said account thus subjecting me to several hours of waiting.
“I will not pay you until you provide your national identity card” retorted the operations manager, with no attempt to disguise her annoyance. In my mind raced several thoughts, ideas and conclusions. I felt let down by my own country, I felt rejected by my own people and I asked myself ‘how can I be regarded as stranger in my own motherland?’
‘Am I to be blamed for the ineptitude of the Directorate of National Civil Registration (DNCR) who failed to produce and hand over my national identity card alongside others?’ I asked myself as I battled with the frustration welling up inside me. The massive failure of the erstwhile DNCR put the legitimacy of my citizenship as a Nigerian alongside many others to question. I bore this stigma for more than ten years, during which I was denied a lot of privileges.
But I never relented in my prayers, I kept hoping for another opportunity for my national identity registration. Though I nursed the phobia instilled in me by the inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy that characterises Nigerian public sector yet I hoped for the best. To enjoy the complete Post, Click here
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