The leadership of the National Information Management Commission, NIMC workers’ union has appealed to Federal government to effectively fund the Commission to enable it deliver on its statutory mandate.
In a Save Our Soul (SOS) statement to the Federal government titled ‘Empower NIMC to Effectively Take Care of the Vulnerable, Improve Security and Fight Against Corruption, signed by the Union Chairman, Mr. Lucky Asekokhai, and made available to newsmen, the union appealed to the President to urgently intervene in the funding challenge currently constituting a clog in the wheel of progress of the Commission, particularly in the capturing of the 200 million Nigerians and keeping a reliable national database.
Mr. Asekokhai said the importance of effective funding of NIMC, especially at this period of COVID-19 cannot be underestimated considering the enormous benefits it accrues to the economy, national security and other socio-economic impacts.
He lamented the absence of credible database in the country, which is currently posing a big challenge to the distribution of palliatives to the vulnerable Nigerians by the agents of governments at both federal, states and local government levels.
Recall that the Federal government in its efforts to provide succour to vulnerable Nigerians whose means of livelihood might have been affected by the nationwide lockdown to curtail the spread and reduce mortality by COVID-19, it has been facing identity crisis of the recipients of palliatives, leading to a widespread outcry and criticism by concerned Nigerians and Civil Society organisations who expressed dissatisfaction with the mode of the distribution.
According to Mr. Asekokhai, if properly funded NIMC could bridge the void by providing accurate and reliable database of every citizen.
The Union leader therefore, called on Federal government to pay priority attention to the NIMC, which can provide the needed panacea to the intractable problem of identity.
‘‘It is no doubt that NIMC has the only all-inclusive and reliable Database in Nigeria. BVN with its about 40 million records are restricted to holders of bank account numbers which most vulnerable Nigerians don’t have.
‘‘INEC with over 84 million records are only restricted to Nigerians of voting age from 18 years and above, FRSC, NIS, NCC-SIM registration as well have restrictions etc,’’ he said.
According to him, ‘‘NIMC is already empowered by NIMC Acts of 2007 and other relevant and gazetted regulations but the financial capacity to carry the NIMS mandate in all ramifications and take care of its staff welfare to accelerate the enrolment of all Nigerians is one of the major challenges facing the commission.
He also appealed to the Federal government to restore hazard and other allowances accruable to the staff, as well as Paramilitary Salary Structure to enable the staff deliver on their duties.