Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has underscored the need for reliable data collection and coordination for national planning and development.
Okowa laid the emphasis on Wednesday, when Mrs Henrietta Okolo, the Coordinator of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in Delta, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Asaba.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Mr Kingsley Otuar, said that inadequate data for planning purposes, posed a very huge challenge to the development of the country.
“Without appropriate data, there cannot be planning and development, and if there is planning and development without appropriate data, it will be haphazard and will not achieve the purpose it was meant for.
He said it was regrettable that only 48 million of the estimated 200 million Nigerians had been registered by NIMC and possessed the National Identity Cards.
He, however, called on the commission and other stakeholders to redouble efforts toward ensuring that more Nigerians were registered.
Okowa charged NIMC to do more to sensitise the people on the importance of registering for the national identity card.
The governor assured the commission of the state government’s support and partnership in ensuring that more Delta people registered.
“We thank you for coming today as we join you in celebrating our National Identity Day.
“NIMC has lots of work to do to ensure that we have reliable data for our national planning and development.
“I am sure that with the support of the Federal and State Governments and all stakeholders, we will be able to achieve that laudable objective of having reliable data for our national planning.
“For us in Delta, we take very serious cognisance of the fact that we cannot do without reliable data in our planning for the development of our state.
“You have alluded to our using the National Identity Number (NIN) in registering our people for the Contributory Health Insurance Scheme.
“We can’t afford a situation where women in rural areas have difficulty in paying their medical bills.
“As a state, we will bring our people into the health insurance scheme to provide the much needed health care for them,” Okowa said.
Earlier, Okolo said she led the management of the commission in the state on an advocacy visit to the governor to commemorate this year’s National Identity Day.
She said the theme of this year’s edition of the national identity management was “Identity for Health, Sustainable Development and Growth.”
The state coordinator said the theme was apt in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the management of palliatives by various governments and donor agencies.
“This is the second edition of the celebration.
“We had the maiden edition in 2019 and the essence of celebrating this day is to create awareness on the importance of identification for national planning and development.
“NIMC was created by the federal government to collate all existing data bases from other agencies and manage them into a secured data base that can be relied upon by government for proper planning and development of the citizenry.
“As at today, you can’t renew your international passport without your national identification number, and it is also required in accessing the NHIS,” she said.