By Amin Kef (Ranger)
To bolster the uptake of Biometric National ID Cards issued by the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), there is a growing call on the general public to prioritize the fulfillment of such a statutory obligation.
In a recent Public Notice released by the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA),it was indicated that the general public is informed that the institution, in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and the Office of National Security (ONS) will embark on robustly implementing a Cabinet Directive Ratified by Parliament in March, 2022 which provides for the mandatory link of the Identification Cards (National, Non-National and ECOWAS) with the National Identification Number (NIN) inscribed on the ID Cards to access services that includes: Transactions with Financial Institutions (Banks, Forex Bureau, Insurance, etc), Vehicle Registration and Licensing, Recruitment into Public and Private Institutions for consistency in personal information and verification, NASSIT Enrolment, Land and Property Registration, Enrolment into Educational Institutions including Public Exams, Sim Card Registration, Vital Events Registration, Immigration Services, Residence/Work Permits, Business Registration and Incorporation.
It furthered that the general public is hereby advised to obtain any of the Identification Cards as may be applicable from any of the NCRA Offices or other Centres designated for issuance of ID Cards across the country by Friday, 31s March, 2024.
The entity maintains that the National and Non-National ID Cards are mandatory while ECOWAS ID Card is optional adding how it wants the general public to know that the National Civil Registration Authority and the Security Sector will jointly collaborate to enforce compliance with this Cabinet Directive and its Parliamentary Ratification effective 1s April, 2024.
NCRA states that such is to ensure that all residents (citizens and foreign) are reliably identified and have consistency in their personal information irrespective of the use or purpose.
It reiterates that Identification Cards bearing the National Identification Numbers (NIN) is by law the primary source of personal identification in Sierra Leone.
Abdul Cauker, the National Security Coordinator, stated, “Every resident in Sierra Leone must have a National Identity Card as it not only helps in identifying individuals accurately but also plays a vital role in maintaining national security.”
William Sellu, the Inspector General of Police, echoed this sentiment, saying, “Having a standardized form of identification will greatly assist law enforcement in carrying out their duties effectively and efficiently.”
Residents are urged to begin the process of obtaining their National Identity Cards as soon as possible to avoid any last-minute rush. The NCRA has set up various registration centres across the country to facilitate this process.
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:
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 Round- About).
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 mentioned again that 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile registration units will also be deployed to remote areas to ensure that every resident, no matter where they are located, has access to this essential form of identification. Additionally, online registration options will be made available for those who are unable to visit a physical registration centre.
Through embracing the ID Cards, Sierra Leoneans will pave the way towards a more connected, transparent, and prosperous nation.