Godson Irikefe, Abuja
May 13, 2015 – The National Identity Management Commission (NICMC) has revealed that 406 staff of the commission who were recently sacked over falsification of service records have been handled over to police authorities to face prosecution and criminal charges
Director-General of NIMC, Mr. Chris Onyemenam, stated this during a press conference in Abuja in reaction to protest by the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria.
He denied embezzling N30 billion meant for the production of the National Identity card.
“There are 406 members of staff who falsified their records and have been benefiting from the system. We have referred them to the relevant security agencies for prosecution and they will face criminal charges. The rationale behind our action is to ensure that we maintain integrity and ensure that our cards are respected everywhere.
“Embezzlement of N30 billion again is misunderstanding of the facts that has been interpreted to suit the presenter’s purpose. In September 2011 government approved N30.066 billion from the procurement of cards and the accelerated expansion of the back end. And within budgetary constraints, we are very proud of the support we have received”, Onyemenam stated.
He said it is unfortunate that on a day the National eID Card is being internationally recognized as the ‘Best African Payment Initiative in 2014, it is being disparaged at home.
“The National eID Card is currently being distributed across the Federation from our State Offices. It is regrettable that some members of staff with questionable service records who have been slowing down the pace of the implementation of the NIMS are now bent on disrupting the smooth arrangement put in place for citizens to enrol and subsequently come to collect their eID Cards at their convenience and upon notification.
“Furthermore, it is not true that NIMC has planned to sack or retrench 1,000 workers. However 406 senior members of staff who falsified their service records and thus have been profiting from that fraud, have been formally reported to the appropriate offices for further action”, he said.
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NATIONAL IDENTITY MANAGEMENT COMMISSION
PICKETING OF NIMC: THE FACTS AND THE FALACY
On Tuesday May 12, 2015, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, made good its threat, widely published in the newspapers recently, to PICKET the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) over claims that Management planned to ‘sack over 1,000 staff’ who are members of the ASCSN. They further alleged impunity on the side of Management, claimed that the NIMC under the leadership of the Director General, Chris ‘E Onyemenam, whom the Union wanted sacked by the Government, had not delivered on the mandate of the NIMC, in particular, the issuance of national eID Cards. They further alleged financial misconduct, corruption and unfair labour practices.
During the picketing action, today, the ASCSN prevented staff members of the NIMC who are members of the Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transportation and Corporations, SSACTAC, from entering the office in Lagos, Minna and our Head Office here in Abuja. Picketing does not mean locking out staff members by another Union whose members have a criminal case to answer.
These allegations and claims are false and an unfortunate misrepresentation of facts. They are malicious and calculated to discredit the Board, Top Management and the person of the DG over the handling of disciplinary cases of staff members found to have falsified their service records. The current actions and utterances of the representatives of ASCSN, which signed an agreement with the Management of NIMC in 2012 over this issue is unfortunate and suspicious.
It is not true that Management plans to declare redundancy or undertake any retrenchment. Rather, Management had administratively dealt with cases of falsification of service records by some senior members of staff. Due process was followed, including the proper convening and seating of a Disciplinary Committee with all Observer Status Offices duly represented, obeying all Court Orders regarding the administrative process since July 2014, responding to requests for explanations and clarifications, etc. from supervisory and other appropriate authorities of Government.
Management has not behaved with impunity nor did it disobey any Court Orders. All due processes were followed and appropriate approvals obtained as necessary by NIMC Management in the discharge of its duties. Management has ensured that all Annual Accounts of the NIMC are audited and approved by the Board before submission to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation as required by law. It is also published on our website as part of an annual report on the NIMC for each year. The 2014 Accounts that has just been approved by the Board will be published shortly.
Management can confirm that the National Identity Management System (NIMS) has been in operation since February 23, 2012 with about 404 Enrolment Centres nationwide. The NIMS went live on a Pilot basis in 2012 and NIMC is currently focusing on a large scal deployment through various ways including harmonization and integration of other ongoing data gathering activties across MDAs and in the private sector.
The NIMS infrastructure was first certified as ISO 27001:2005 compliant in 2014 and was recertified as ISO 27001:2013 compliant in April 2015. The Card Personalization Infrastructure was audited and certified under the Global Vendors Certification Programme (GVCP) in 2014 and has just been audited for recertification a week ago.
It is unfortunate that on a day the National eID Card is being internationally recognized as the ‘Best African Payment Initiative in 2014, it is being disparaged at home. The National eID Card is currently being distributed across the Federation from our State Offices. It is regrettable that some members of staff with questionable service records who have been slowing down the pace of the implementation of the NIMS are now bent on disrupting the smooth arrangement put in place for citizens to enrol and subsequently come to collect their eID Cards at their convenience and upon notification.
Furthermore, it is not true that NIMC has planned to sack or retrench 1,000 workers. However 406 senior members of staff who falsified their service records and thus have been profiting from that fraud, have been formally reported to the appropriate offices for further action. The issues at stake are as follow:
Falsification of Service Records; Fake appointment letters; Fake promotion letters; Fake conversion/advancement letters; Did we provide opportunity for fair hearing: YES WE DID, to wit-
Verification of staff service records;
Issuance of query to affected staff;
Analyses of response to query and verification of documents attached to response; Invitation to attend a duly constituted Disciplinary Committee Meeting;
Obtaining necessary approvals for the recommendations of the Committee;
Implementation of the approvals – proper placement for those exculpated and issuance of dismissal letters for those found culpable in line with the Public Service Rules. Formal Report to appropriate authorities in respect of the criminal acts, for further action.
Accordingly the action embarked upon by the ASCSN is an attempt to take attention away from the facts and issues as stated above.
In respect of other allegations, we wish to state that NO staff member who is qualified and applied was denied the right to go on annual leave. It is also not true that female staff are discouraged from getting pregnant, it is in fact unthinkable. We have always followed due process in all our recruitment exercise.
For the avoidance of doubt, Management has remained focused on implementing the NIMS, in particular, the Federal Executive Council approval in September 2011.