By Amin Kef (Ranger)
The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) is urging all citizens to secure the National Biometric ID Cards that the entity started issuing last year. This call, on the part of the institution, comes against the backdrop that even the ID Cards can be obtained at a minimal cost at designed centres to suit the comfort of the citizenry, it has become noticeable that most are refraining from doing so.
NCRA wants all and sundry to know that holding the National Biometric ID Card is a statutory obligation which all must try to fully as it will portray that an individual is a patriotic citizen.
Besides, the Identity Card issuance establishment wants it to make it categorically clear that securing the Biometric National ID Card will enhance a citizen’s security status providing guarantee that he or she is a bonafide citizen of Sierra Leone and should be privileged to certain facilities and opportunities.
In addition to that accessing certain national services and others could be contingent on owning a National ID Card. The opening of accounts at various commercial banks , accessing monies in accounts etc could be made possible and easy if one possesses an ID Card.
There is no way it could be swept under the carpet or in downplaying the fact that owning a National Biometric ID Card is a vital requirement which every citizen must fulfill. Owning one shows one’s identity as a citizen of Sierra Leone thereby helping to easily dispel doubts in questionable times. It saves one going through any identity check hassle at checkpoints during tense moments.
Besides, securing the National Biometric ID Card will save holders from the hassle and embarrassment of opening bank accounts, withdrawing monies from bank accounts and even at Foreign Bureaus, as it is an acceptable document in achieving or accessing those services.
Against such a backdrop, the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) is urging all citizens and residents in the country to secure their Biometric National ID cards which were introduced early last year.
The NCRA has reiterated that the campaign for the securing of the ID Cards is intended to enhancing holders’ personal security and as well enable them to easily have access to Government and private sector services. The ID-issuing authority says the cards will not only streamline the way individuals access public services, they will also contribute to the security architecture which the West African country is trying to build.
According to the NCRA, all citizens who have attained the age of 12 are eligible to secure Biometric ID Cards and can visit any of its nearest branches in various districts for an application. Emphasizing the importance of citizens acting as patriots in securing the ID Cards, NCRA hopes to see an increase in the number of registrants in the course of 2024.
It must be noted that the card contains an embedded chip which carries the biometric information of the holder, to enable easy ID authentication. It also has an 11-digit National Identification Number (NIN) which acts as a unique identifier linked to the personal details of the card holder in the national population registry. Officials say the NIN will henceforth be a requirement for students of the primary education sector preparing to take pubic examinations.
As part of the use cases, the NCRA has also directed that from this year, the biometric ID card will be required at all of the country’s checkpoints for those travelling around the country.
Significantly, NCRA’s transformative initiative aligns with the Government’s commitment to fostering a safer, more efficient and accessible environment for all citizens.
Designated centers and six specific offices have also been opened throughout the country, and 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 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.
In a bid to enhance accessibility, the NCRA has introduced corporate services tailored for organizations and institutions. For comprehensive information on these corporate services, interested parties can contact the following numbers: +232-33-433-333 / +232-30-500-000 / +232-60-000 / +232-78-221-812 or via EMAIL: email@example.com.
Cognizance must be taken that it is a civil responsibility which citizens must fulfill.