My National ID Card took 6 Years to be Issued

Do you know what you can achieve within 6 years?

You could gain admission into a University, graduate and complete your National youth service.

Within 6 years, you can learn two different languages. Let’s say you are a Yoruba person, you can learn Igbo and Hausa within 6 years to become the Chief Linguistic Officer of the federal republic of Nigeria.

If you are a middle-class citizen that earns around 150,000 Naira monthly, you can complete a three-bedroom bungalow in the village; one for yourself and one for Mama and Papa.

I could go on and on.

Six freaking years. That’s how long it took for my Nigerian National Identity card to be issued to me. Jehova!

I was minding my business one Monday morning when I got a text message to come to pick up my National Identification card at NIMC’s office at Alausa, Ikeja.

I didn’t even know how to react at that moment. Should I have shouted with joy or just hold my peace? I chose the latter; I held my peace.

Like what’s there to be happy about? I registered for a card in September 2013 and I’m just receiving a notification to come to pick up my card in April 2019.

Anyway, I scheduled that week Friday to go to the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC) Office at Alausa, Ikeja, where I registered.

On Friday, I left home past 6 AM, hurriedly went to the NIMC office thinking I’ll be the first person on the queue. But you know how things are done in Nigeria na, everybody is in a hurry. I got there by past 7 AM and saw about 27 persons there already.

NIMC Card - Nigerian National Identity Card

Everyone was standing haphazardly. I asked around and found out that you had to write your name down on a list. I wrote my name immediately and got busy with my phone.

While we were waiting, a man came to brief us on how to co-ordinate ourselves at the centre. He told us that NIMC officials resume office by 9 AM. He gave us some titbits and told us to form a queue based on our reason for coming.

If you came to register for a new National Identity card queue at my left-hand side. If you are here to collect your temporary slip or you got a message that your Permanent National ID is ready, queue by my right-hand side. The NIMC official announced.

Finally, at about some minutes to 9 AM, the official that gave the announcements began to call the names on the list.

When I got into the office, everything had changed since my last visit six years ago. The office reminded me of how public/government facilities are not properly managed.

The nice chairs then had been replaced with plastic chairs. The paintings had worn out. Everywhere just looked scanty.

I was watching as an office attendant tied the Wifi device to a particular spot on one of the cubicles at the office. I guess that was the only spot in the whole office that had the strongest internet reception. The whole scenario wasn’t looking professional at all.

After some minutes of sitting with nobody attending to us, I went back to the man that called out our names on the list. I asked him if I was actually sitting at the right place or there was a different place for people that came to get their permanent (plastic) ID card. With a raised voice, the man said I should go and wait for an official to attend to us.

I felt I was sitting in the wrong place because I saw an inscription “Enter here to collect your permanent card”. After waiting for another 15 minutes and nobody was attending to us, I just picked my bag and went into the office where I saw the inscription. Surprisingly, I saw about seven people sitting down there already with three NIMC officials attending to them.

A middle-aged man was called to the counter to collect his card when he got there, he asked the lady attending to us why it took such a long time for the card to be produced. The lady replied saying that the government rarely funded the project.

Within an hour or so, I collected my permanent Nigerian identity card, signed the necessary papers and left the office.

When I got back home, I took a closer look at the card and saw the issue date printed on it, 7th November 2018. If the card has been ready since then, why wait till April the following year before giving it out?

My thoughts raced back to what the lady at the NIMC office said about the government not funding the NIMC project. For a project that can solve security issues in the country, one would think it would be the number one project on the governments’ to-do list.

If you are yet to collect your National Identity card (NIMC version), here are some that may help;

  1. If you have misplaced the phone number used during registration, go back to an NIMC office or enrollment centre anywhere in Nigeria to report or probably update your profile.
  2. You can go to an NIMC office to ask questions if you feel there’s an issue or your card is taking too long.
  3. The NIMC online card status checker (touch.nimc.gov.ng) didn’t work for me. Even after I collected my card, it still shows that my NIMC card is not ready.
  4. If you have not registered, go and register, it is important.

For something that took this long to achieve, it would be an offence if I don’t show gratitude to everyone involved.

I want to thank everybody that made this possible;

The Federal government for providing the funds used to produce my identity card, we know it’s taxpayers money but in our country, taxpayers money is also politicians money. So a big thank you on that.

Etisalat Nigeria, you guys don’t know what you have done. What if there was no network service when the message came in? I wouldn’t have known that the card was ready and I would just wait till the glorious call. Thank you.

To all the previous and present governors of Lagos state, ẹ sé gan. My journey to Ikeja was seamless. Thank you for the good roads in this area.

Big shout out to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). This wouldn’t have been possible without you guys. I believe with proper funding, NIMC will perform better.

My heart goes out to fellow Nigerians who are also waiting for their cards, it’s not easy. In life, you have ups and downs, but you should never give up. You should always try to get ahead.

And to you reading this right now, thank you for reading this article. I’m happy my articles are being read and the feeling is awesome. A big thank you.

Ye! who stone me?

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