Heads Up: Move With An ID Card In Nigeria Or Be Regarded As A Suspect


October 28, 2019

In case you missed it, Nigerians are now required to walk around with a valid means of identification to avoid being apprehended by the Nigerian military as suspects of kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, ethnic militia, or any other criminal activity in the country.

Apparently, this “Operation Positive Identification (OPI)” by the Nigerian military has been happening in the North-East for awhile now and it will be implemented nationwide from November 1 to December 23.

So if you’ve been living la vida loca in Nigeria without a documentation to show you exist, you now have about a week’s notice to go get a valid ID card.

Because, yes, Nigeria is like that.

Possible Effect On Citizens?

This military operation was supposed to have commenced on October 7th but it was rescheduled, in order to give the military ample time to prepare. Yet, I’m pretty sure many people are not ready to be accosted by military personnel at anytime.

We all know the force needs no excuse to harass citizens but they’ve been given a perfect one with this development.

Considering SARS remains a constant pain in the neck, one that even the Vice President’s interference couldn’t get rid of, is it any wonder that we should be wary about this?

How Effective Will It Be?

According to a report by Premium Times, only 19% of Nigerians have national identity cards; we mustn’t forget that many people who register have to wait for YEARS to actually get the permanent ID. There are even more people without a voters card, drivers license, international passports or any other ID. Does this mean people who don’t have ID cards are engaging in criminal activities?

Isn’t it proper for thorough investigations to be carried out instead of arresting someone on a whim with no evidence in sight because they have no ID’s?

Can we take a second to realise that the actual (suspected) criminals will actually have proper means of identification? Think of Evans and Hamisu Wadume and then you have your answer.

Also, isn’t this operation a tad bit inconsiderate to Nigerians? Yes, we know its said to be in the interest of everyone, to rid society of terrorists. But, isn’t there a better way to do this, without infringing on citizens right to freedom of movement?

Find Zikoko
wherever you are

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.