By Amin Kef (Ranger)
The Biometric Identity Cards should now be deemed as the reliable panacea or solution to the clarification of identity doubts during crucial moments when such are to be determined or ascertained as to whether a resident in Sierra Leone is a bona fide citizen or a non-citizen. This is so because, besides the holders of the Biometric Cards being categorized as Nationals or Non-Nationals, the ID Cards are actually embedded with unique chips that contain biometric data of the holders’ special features or bio information. Because of those unique chips, containing individual information captured during prior registration processes, it is viably possible for identity verification to be done accurately.
Besides, the Biometric ID Cards also contain unique individual National Identification Numbers (NIN) that do identify persons for life. The NIN is used to link all records about a person in the National Identity Database and makes it easier to verify a person’s identity.
As a matter of fact the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) has categorically stated that the NIN is important because it can identify an individual even if there are multiple people with the same name. Equally so , it admonishes how it is important to secure the Biometric ID Cards as they can improve the personal security of citizens and put them at vantage positions to easily access Government and private sector services.
As of now, the NIN is a mandatory requirement for pupils in public examination classes in Sierra Leone and required for foreign nationals applying for work and residence permits.
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For the aforementioned reasons, it is but prudent for Sierra Leoneans to prioritize obtaining their Biometric ID Cards as the roles of those cards in enhancing personal security, gaining accessibility to essential public and private services cannot be over emphasized. As citizens and non-citizens obtaining the ID Cards is a statutory obligation as the unique National Identification Numbers (NINs) contain vital and unique information.
In order to facilitate the Biometric ID Card application process, specific NCRA Offices and designated centers have been established across Sierra Leone. It must therefore be underscored that the designated centers and NCRA offices, strategically located throughout the country, offer accessibility for citizens to secure their Biometric National ID cards.
Worthy of note also is that the NCRA has introduced corporate services for organizations, further promoting accessibility and efficiency.
Designated centers and six specific offices have been opened throughout the country in locations that are easily accessible as part of efforts to facilitate the ID registration process. The centres are:
1. NCRA Headquarters: 2 Walpole Street, Freetown.
2. NCRA Office: 23B Off Kingharman Road, Freetown.
3. NCRA Office: Kennedy Street, Freetown.
4. NCRA Branch Office: 230 Lumley Road, Freetown (By the roundabout).
5. NCRA Office: Waterloo along the Freetown High Way (opposite the Police Station).
6. NCRA Offices: Regional Headquarter Towns of Bo, Kenema, Makeni, and Port Loko.
It must be reiterated that to improve accessibility, the NCRA has introduced specialized corporate services designed for organizations and institutions. For detailed information on these services, interested parties can reach out to the following contact numbers: +232-33-433-333, +232-30-500-000, +232-60-000, +232-78-221-812, or via email at email@example.com.
It is essential to acknowledge the fact that fulfilling this civil responsibility is crucial for citizens and non-citizens.