President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said the ongoing national identity registration being carried out by the National Identity Management Commission would be used to complement the nation’s permanent voter cards.
He therefore said any Nigerian who wants their votes to count must ensure that they are captured under the scheme.
Buhari spoke briefly with State House correspondents shortly after he registered for the scheme at the lobby of the Presidential Villa’s Council Chambers.
“I think this exercise is very important to confirm our population and those who are entitled to vote, that is those who are 18 years and above. It will complement the exercise of the permanent voter cards.
“So, for those who want their votes to count from whichever party or constituency, they should ensure that they and their families are properly captured,” Buhari said shortly after the Director-General of NIMC, Mr. Chris Onyemenam, presented him his temporary identity card.
Onyemenam later told journalists that seven million Nigerians had been captured under the scheme.
He expressed the hope that the figure would increase very soon with the synergy currently going on between the commission and ministries, departments and agencies.
“On our database, we have a record of seven million Nigerians. In collaboration with other agencies, in the next three months or so, we hope to quadruple that number.
“In the past, the private sector was expected to perform that role, so government did not focus on that. The close to seven million that we have in our database is the product of the pilot scheme that we embarked upon to demonstrate the value of the scheme.
“Now that the MDAs are going to step up the harmonisation, the database will be populated in a matter of weeks.
“As a matter of fact, we are at the stage of migrating the data from the Bank Verification Number and that is about 20million.
“We are truly on course and appreciate Mr. President for that recent directive that biometrics databases in government agencies should be expeditiously harmonised.”
Onyemenam explained that the registration is a continuous exercise, saying all enrollment centres established would remain open forever like branches of banks.
He said his commission was working hard to ensure that enrollment centres were opened in each local government across the country.
He added that efforts were currently ongoing to extend registration to university campuses, primary schools and hospitals.
The NIMC boss expressed confidence that with the cooperation he was expecting from the Independent National Electoral Commission, the coverage would be extended further.