FG rolls out another National I.D. Card scam. Its Christmas! PDP share the money!

Posted on November 29, 2012 by

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When I saw the headlines declaring the start of a new national I.D. card scheme, I wondered if the wheel of Nigerian corruption had stopped evolving. I shit you not, I have enrolled my details for a national I.D. card and I never received one.The players are still the same, the objectives still the same. The only variable in this saga is the amount of government funding allocated to this perennially ‘new’ scheme.

In 2002/2003 under the Obasanjo regime it was USD214 million, and by the end of 2003 the scheme had morphed into its real identity, a scam. Unsophisticated bribes were given and equally unsophisticated bribes were received. This was probably the event that coined the popular PDP party slogan – ‘PDP, share the money!’ In a bid to appear to be fighting corruption and doing something, government officials and other persons involved were being superficially arrested and released on the hour, every hour. Sheet long charges were filed and subsequently withdrawn in true Nigerian style – plenty activity without progress. In the end, maybe 5 or 6 identity cards were issued, the money that was siphoned was not returned, no one was held responsible and USD214 million disappeared into thin air, fat pockets and bursting offshore bank accounts.

Come 2011, the I.D. card scam demon reared its proverbial head again in the sum of N30.066bn, approved by our ruling band of thieves – the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The sum was so large that it forced Nigerians to act in an unprecedented fashion; to complain. Less than 10 years had passed and Nigerians were still smarting from the “fast one” that the Obasanjo regime had pulled on them and there was an uproar. People began questioning the necessity for I.D. cards at all and in response, the project was temporarily shelved.

It’s the end of 2012 and we feel privileged to see part three of this saga start all over again, but this time the budget figures have been reduced from last year’s quote of N30.066bn to N6.3bn. This is a lesser figure that Nigerians should be more comfortable with and will probably not complain about. Or so I thought, because when I decided to read the fine print in Thisday’s report on this issue, it was a completely different kettle of fish.

  1. This sum will be used to issue only 13 million identity cards. Let’s not forget that Nigeria is a country of 162,470,737 million people as documented by the World Bank in 2011. I guess the cards will only be issued to a select few; a great improvement from the measly 5 or 6 people that received the cards the first time around. Ok, I kid. Maybe 1 million Nigerians were issued identity cards in the first round of the scam so we should view this attempt as a major improvement.
  2. The project had already gulped N34.2bn by a previous administration and would now cost N30.1bn in the next three years. This means that this project is actually costing us more than N6.3bn. In fact, we are still doing what Jonathan’s administration wanted to do in 2011, and even more. Nothing has changed, Nigerians, nothing has changed!
  3. So what does this illusory figure of N6.3bn account for? The report says N5.3bn will go to the cost of the contract to supply the smart cards and the remaining N1bn will go towards card personalisation.

Sigh. Nigerians are being taken for a ride, yet again. Unfortunately, it’s not that we don’t deserve it; it’s because we are, sorry to say, idiots. Idiots ruled by kleptocrats.

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