Abuja, Nigeria. October 31st, 2019 – The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) through its official twitter handle on Monday 14th, October 2019, announced that the renewal of the National Identity Card will cost ₦3,000 as well as charging the sum of N5,000 for card replacement. However, a new public opinion poll released by NOIPolls has revealed that 80 percent of Nigerians are of the view that the national identity card should not have an expiration date. Also, 77 percent of Nigerians interviewed disclosed that they are not willing to pay ₦3,000 for renewal of the card mainly because it is too expensive (40 percent) and they believe the card should be free of charge (35 percent). Nonetheless, 96 percent of Nigerians mentioned that they acknowledged the need and importance of having a national identity and this assertion cuts across gender, geo-political zones and age-group.
Further findings showed that 78 percent of the respondents (18 years and above) said that they have applied to obtain the national identity card. Out of the 78 percent who have applied, 65 percent claimed to have a temporary card, while 26 percent specified that they have obtained the permanent card though most of the respondents in this category had to wait for a long period of time before getting the permanent version; sometimes above one year.
In terms of improving the process involved in registration and collection of the national identity, a larger proportion of Nigerians recommended that more registration centres should be created, collection of the permanent card should be immediately after registration and 7 percent advised that the collection centres should be decentralized. Given the above recommendations by Nigerians, it is imperative that the NIMC and all stakeholders involved in the registration and collection exercise act swiftly to improve the overall process, by reducing the waiting time for the collection of permanent Identity cards as well issues bordering the new national identity card expiration policy. These are the key findings from the National Identity Card Poll conducted by NOIPolls in the week commencing October 21st, 2019.
The National identity card is a document that proves, states and protects the legal status of every Nigerian that is a cardholder. Every Nigerian from 16 years and above is eligible for the national e-ID card.
Beyond easy identification, the national e-ID card has other functions which include:
- Europay MasterCard & Visa (EMV) – serve as a tool to make payment for goods and services anywhere in the world.
- Match-on-Card (MoC) –serve as a tool to authenticate a person by means of fingerprint
- Electronic Public Key Infrastructure (ePKI) – serve as a tool for applying the electronic signature on contracts, applications etc.
- International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) – serve as a travel document for regional travel where visa is not required
The first question gauged the perceptions of Nigerians on the importance of having a national identity card and findings revealed an overwhelming majority of Nigerians (96 percent) are conscious of the need to have a National ID card. This assertion cuts across gender, geo-political zones and age-group.
The poll results also revealed that 78 percent of Nigerians (18 years and above) reported that they have applied for the national identity card, however, 22 percent claimed that they have not applied to obtain a national identity card. Nigerians residing in the North East (93 percent) and North West (88 percent) zones have more respondents who have applied for the card.
Out of the 78 percent who indicated that they have applied for the card, the majority (65 percent) disclosed that they currently have the temporary national identity card issued to them at the point of registration, while 26 percent revealed that they currently have the permanent national identity card. Interestingly, 6 percent disclosed that they did not get either the temporary or the permanent national identity card after they had enrolled for the exercise.
Subsequently, 26 percent of the respondents who stated that have obtained the permanent national identity were further probed and findings showed that it took over a year for 42 percent of that proportion to obtain permanent national identity card.
Similarly, 22 percent of Nigerians who stated that they have not applied for the national identity card were further probed and 35 percent of that proportion reported that they did not apply because they are not aware of the application procedures. While 24 percent mentioned that they do not have time to go register, 15 percent lamented that the process of registering for the national identity card is too stressful amongst other reasons mentioned.
Findings revealed that a large share of Nigerians (80 percent) are not aware of the national identity card renewal policy upon expiration. This cuts across gender, geo-political zones and age-group. On the other hand, 20 percent acknowledged that they are aware of the new renewal policy of the national identity card upon expiration.
Further findings from the poll showed that majority of Nigerians (80 percent) were of the view that the national identity card should not have an expiration date however, 20 percent stated otherwise.
Opinion on the fee for the renewal of the national identity card revealed that majority of Nigerians disclosed that they are not willing to pay the sum of ₦3,000 for the renewal of the national identity card. Nigerians living in the North East region accounted for the larger proportion of Nigerians who made this assertion.
Respondents were further asked to state reasons for their response and out of the 72 percent who said that they are not willing to the ₦3,000, 40 percent mentioned that they are not willing to pay because they believe that ₦3,000 is unaffordable. While 35 percent mentioned that the national identity card should be free, 15 percent believe that it is their rights as citizens to obtain the national identity card free of charge.
On the other hand, those who think it should be paid for said it is because they believe the national identity card is important. This is followed by 25 percent who are willing to pay for it to be identified as citizens while 24 percent said that they will pay the ₦3,000 only if it is passed into law.
When asked of ways of easing the process of obtaining the national identity card, almost half of the respondents (46 percent) recommended that the government should open more registration centres. Additionally, 27 percent suggested that collection of the national identity card should be done immediately after registration while 7 percent advised that the collection centre should be decentralised amongst other recommendations.
In conclusion, on the knowledge of citizens with respect to having a national identity card, the poll revealed that majority (96 percent) of Nigerians nationwide are aware of the significance of having a national identity card as citizens. This significance was evenly expressed across all geopolitical zones as well as across both gender category. The poll also showed that about 8 in 10 (78 percent) Nigerians (18 years and above) have applied to obtain their national identity cards.
Furthermore, analysis on the current status of Nigerians regarding their national identity card showed that majority (65 percent) were issued temporary Identity cards while 26 percent of those who had applied received permanent national Identity cards. Also, 6 percent of the proportion of Nigerians who had applied stated that they do not have either the temporary or permanent card. Sadly, the poll on examining the time frame for receiving a permanent card after initial enrollment or capture showed that 42 percent of Nigerians who had enrolled got their national Identity cards after a year or more.
Consequently, regarding awareness on the recent national identity card renewal policy upon expiration, the poll revealed that only 20 percent of Nigerians were aware of the policy. Additionally, majority of Nigerians do not think that the national identity card should have an expiration date and are not willing to pay for renewal on expiration mainly because they believe that the ₦3,000 renewal fee is unaffordable.
The poll has revealed that most Nigerians who have enrolled for their national identity card were only issued the temporary version and had to wait for a long period of time before getting the permanent version; sometimes above one year, it is imperative that the national identity management commission and all stakeholders involved in the registration and collection exercise act swiftly to improve the overall process, by reducing the waiting time for the collection of permanent Identity cards as well issues bordering the new national identity card expiration policy. Finally, the commission will also do well to educate Nigerians on the identity card renewal policy.