Officials of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) assigned to Umuahia North Council headquarters of Abia State for the ongoing registration and issuing of National Identity Cards nationwide are reportedly collecting bribe ranging from N2,000 to N6,000 before processing and issuing the National Identity Card to an interested person.
The surging crowd made it easy for them to engage in the illicit act from willing persons as each person struggled to get processed so that they can get their National Identity Card before the deadline on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.
On arrival at the venue, our reporter saw the surging crowd pushing one another, in utter disregard to COVID-19 protocols. Every person, according to him, wanted an ID card immediately and so there was no letting in. And therefore, the staff cashed in on the chaotic situation and exploited the people.
The crowd complained bitterly that the officials had abandoned the rules and resorted to ‘cash and carry’, adding that those who paid the agreed amount are given express attention that enabled them to get their IDs immediately on arriving the place.
Said a middle aged man who refused to give his name, “yes they do so… I paid N2,000 before I got mine. I paid because I was in a hurry”. An old woman in her 90s told our reporter that she had been there at the venue since morning and had not been attended to. The crowd, she added, has been pushing her to and fro, saying “I don’t have the strength to stand anymore”.
Those that lamented bitterly to our reporter included: Mr Kalu Sunday, Mrs Eunice David, Mrs Agomuo Ann, Mrs David Odochi, Mrs Ahamefula Blessing, Miss Nneoma Egbuchina, Miss Nwali Mabel, Mrs Onyedika Blessing and Mrs Ahaoma Blessing.
The same scenario played out in Umuahia South Council headquarters where staff of NIMC reportedly do some smart businesses before processing the National Identity Card for any willing person as opposed to the continued announcement by NIMC authorities that the exercise ie obtaining an National ID is free.
Efforts to get the Umuahia North Local Government Chairman, Ugochukwu Ejinkonye to speak on the development was not successful as he was not on seat as at the time our reporter was there.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.