A political party, the United Patriots, has blasted the Federal Government for imposing what it described as unjust and indefensible fees on United States-based Nigerians for the National Identification Number enrolment Scheme.
Aliyu Aziz, the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the National Identity Management Commission, in separate letters dated May 16, 2019 to the Consulates General of Nigeria in Atlanta GA and New York, informed Nigerians in the US of the commencement of their enrolment into the NIN scheme and the fees which must be paid by each applicant.
Aziz said Nigerians aged 15 years old and below would pay $40 each, while those from 16 years and above would pay $50.
Meanwhile, the exercise is free in Nigeria.
But UP, in a statement on Sunday by its acting National Chairman, Chukwudi Ezeobika, described imposition of fees on US-based Nigerians as alienation.
Ezeobika said, “It is sad to note that the Nigerian government has wilfully and consciously sustained its move towards the preclusion, alienation and aspersion of Nigerians living in the Diaspora by imposing mandatory and obnoxious fees on them for the proposed NIN enrolment programme.
“While Nigerians living at home can walk freely into any of the enrolment centres and be captured and enrolled absolutely free of charge, it is however inconceivable how the Nigerian government could be so discriminatory as to impose outrageous fees for same enrolment on Nigerian citizens residing overseas.”
Ezeobika said imposition of fees had the tendency to further marginalise Nigerians in the Diaspora who, according to him, contribute hugely to the country’s internal programmes and policies.
According to him, the fees were capable of preventing them from being captured in the enrolment.
He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to quickly reverse the decision.
He added, “It is further sad to note that even in this 21st century, the Nigerian government has not assumed and or displayed the capacity to ensure that Nigerians in the Diaspora duly and fully discharge their civil rights and duties to vote at their various locations whenever elections are conducted in Nigeria.”