Mobile Registration for National ID Cards
The Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Internal Affairs has raised grave concern over the manner in which the National Registration Secretariat (NRS) is carrying out its mandate in terms of service delivery at national level especially the issuing of national identity cards to citizens. (Photo: Chairman Hon. PC Bai Kurr (III), Deputy Chairperson, Hon. Ali Kaloko, Hon. I.B. Kargbo and other Members)
Very recently when the committee met, the Chairman Hon. Paramount Chief Bai Kurr Kanagbaro Sanka (III) expressed dissatisfaction with the current situation of the National I.D. Cards.
According to the Chairman, in pursuant to their mandate as in Subsection (2) of Section (107) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, they decided to summon the National Registration Secretariat (NRS) to better understand them on their current programmes of national development, including achievements and challenges over the years, and the measures put in place to address the periodic challenges of National Identity Cards.
Hon. PC Bai Kurr cited relevant sections in the 1991 Constitution such as Section 93 Sub-Sections (111), (112) and (116) which mandate Members of Parliament to investigate, enquire on behalf of the people as their representatives, to be furnished with the current status of the National I.D Cards which demand several requirements at various levels.
The Committee further requested the NRS to furnish them with additional supporting documents for the MP’s to efficiently and effectively do their work, including the required criteria for issuing National I. D. Cards to citizens.
The Committee also focused on key elements to ascertain their investigations from collaborative partners, items of the printing process, the system put in place and the progressive development of nationals and non-nationals.
Hon. Ibrahim Been Kargbo in his statement emphasized that the National Registration Secretariat (NRS) and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) have a key role to play in ensuring that every citizen carries a National I. D. Card.
He stressed that ID Card is very important the world over and that every country must be concerned about it for security reason.
In his response, the Chief Registrar, Mr. Foday Kamara, said the National Registration Secretariat (NRS) is a statutory body created by an Act of Parliament as a strategic coordination body that oversees the harmonization and standardization of the responsibility for vital statistics in 1972 as amended in 2008.
He said their mandate is to establish a National Identity Register through compulsory registration of all citizens and non-citizens resident within the jurisdiction of Sierra Leone to issue National Identity Cards to all registered persons.
Mr. Kamara said they are currently issuing single purpose ID Cards including nationals and non-nationals, adding that every Sierra Leonean will buy a registration form at Le12, 000.00 (Twelve thousand Leones), while an ECOWAS national who has been verified should pay Le50, 000.00 and a non-ECOWAS Le100, 000.00 (One hundred thousand Leones).
He added that for a non-African national, he/she is liable to pay US$100 (one hundred United States Dollars) after the verification process.
The Chief Registrar also dilated on how they have been issuing ID Cards nationwide between 2002 and 2010, adding that the great demand for ID Cards has caused overcrowding at the Secretariat.
He however disclosed that there are plans for the establishment of regional offices at district level.
Mr. Kamara also highlighted some of the challenges facing the Secretariat, including lack of resources to establish in the provinces and mobility.
He however disclosed that there is plan to organize mobile registration nationwide since they are not established in the provinces.
By: Mohamed Y. Turay
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