Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday made a case for rural dwellers in the national identity card scheme, saying they should not be left out as they formed the bulk of the nation’s population.
Mr. Obasanjo said this when he was presented his identity card by the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, at his hill-top mansion in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He expressed concern over the process of activating the card, acknowledging that he got special treatment activating his.
He said,” Not many people know that I have three identity cards. The first is the international passport, the second is National Identity card and the third is my tribal marks. It is not funny that I’m collecting the National Identity card at a time that I’m unemployed and unemployable.
“What we have now is what we wanted to do in 1979 but not as complex as this one and also not as sophisticated as this. Although we are getting the card late, but we are getting the best that technology can offer.
“I have my worries and I always express my feelings. I have got special treatment but how will it be for someone in my village to be captured?
“How much of this functionality in the card will be useful to him and how much will be paid knowing that poverty is still ravaging the rural dwellers. These are issues you will have to address”.
The ex-president pointed out that the e-national identity card would not only help the country in tackling its security challenges, but would also assist in “intelligence gathering”.
The Director General of the commission, Chris Onyemenam, in his response, said all issues raised by Chief Obasanjo were already being addressed. He assured that the rural dwellers would be adequately covered.
Onyemenam said farmers in Kogi state were already being used for the pilot scheme in the rural areas where issues of internet access and illiteracy posed challenges.
The NIMC boss disclosed that the project would cover Nigerians from 16 years and above.