Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta says national identity card registration would provide appropriate population data for effective national planning.
The governor stated this on Monday while speaking at a function to mark the maiden National Identity Day in Asaba.
He said: “I am glad that we have a national identity day, and that Sept. 16 of every year has been set aside for the celebration.
“It is my prayer that as a country, we are going to walk the talk.
“It is not just enough to have a day set aside; it is about the passion and commitment of everybody involved to ensure that it works for us.
“We know that getting Nigerians to register with National Identity Management Commission is very important to us as a country.
“Proper documentation will facilitate all kinds of planning, because the greatest challenge we have as a nation is planning.
“We can only do properly when we have the figures right; most times, we use projections because various demography needed for planning are not in place.
“It is also very important, and concerning issues of intelligence and security, I think that this makes it very key for us as a nation for everybody to support this course and ensure that it is not a one-day advocacy.
“Security challenges will be curbed by the time we are able to have Nigerians properly registered and documented.”
He urged the Federal Government to ensure that every Nigerian is registered.
He said: “This is because from the statistics, we have just about 20 per cent of Nigerians registered with NIMC, which is still a very far cry from what we deserve.
“So, I hope that this recognition and this day will ensure that we put everything in place so that when we celebrate the second anniversary, we will be talking about registration figure that is encouraging.
“I commend you (NIMC) for the work you have done; you need a lot of advocacy.
“We will try to take it through the social media, through the press, through the political class, and I believe that will certainly make it impact more.”
The State’s NIMC Coordinator, Henrietta Okolo, said that over 36 million Nigerians have been registered nationwide with about one million persons registered in Delta.
Okolo said: “We are celebrating the national identity day in our special way in Delta.
“From the records, we have so far enrolled over 36 million Nigerians nationwide.
“In Delta, we have enrolled about one million persons which is a far cry from the population of the state and we need to do more.
“We are encouraging every Nigerian to go to the nearest enrolment centre and get enrolled for life; it is free and everybody is meant to do it.”