By Martin Ekpeke
Some Nigerians have questioned the legality of the statement credited to the Director General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Aziz, where he warned that Nigerians who are yet to get their National Identification Number (NIN) risk losing their citizenship.
The Nigerians expressed their disagreement via a Whatsapp Group ‘Africa Telecom & IT News’.
First to disagree was Bayo Banjo, a telecom and Internet enthusiast. He noted that Aziz’s statement is blatantly illegal, criminal anti-constitutional, stressing that NIN as a document is only an indicator of citizenship.
“I do not agree that without NIN, a Nigerian will no longer be a citizen. Citizenship has many criteria, such as place of birth, nationality of parents and naturalization. But, never is a person’s citizenship, decided by a peace of paper or the lack of it,” he argued.
He warned that some security agencies may lap onto the NIMC’s DG statement to harass the poor rural people who may never get the chance or may not even be aware of the identity card.
Collaborating Banjo’s position, Mr. Segun Oruame argues that the constitution does not confer on NIMC the power to determine who is a citizen.
“How you are a citizen is already clearly stated in the constitution. The law empowers NIMC to document data on all citizen as may be used by the state. The state also for the purpose of order and transparency has empowered NIMC to be both a reservoir of citizens’ data and a clearinghouse in a way that eliminates duplicity and allow other statutory bodies to access the data on all citizens,” Oruame, a media cum technology entrepreneur added.