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NRS civil registration outreach targets south-east

June 15, 2016 By Memunatu Bangura

Officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and National Registration Secretariat (NRS) have engaged residents of Pujehun, Kenema and Kailiahun on the new civil registration and urged them to fully participate in the upcoming national civil registration exercise.

Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Major Ishmeal Sengu Koroma, said the meeting that the civil registration project was significant to the development of the districts and the country as a whole.

He said the registration process would be aimed at producing a comprehensive data that would be used by government and other relevant institutions within and outside the country for developmental and security purposes.

The Deputy Minister explained that his ministry was charged with responsibility to formulate, popularise and implement policies and programmes germane to internal security in the country and to also mediate between the public and government.

Major Koroma encouraged participants at the symposium to take ownership of the registration process as the Identity card that would be issued to individuals could be used for multiple purposes.

He expressed government’s commitment towards the implementation of the project and appealed to the people of Kenema, Pujehun and Kailiahun to come out in their numbers when the registration process commences in September.

Chief Registrar at the National Registration Secretariat (NRS), Foday Kamara, said the civil registration was not new in the country as people register with different institutions on a daily basis, although the new process would bring the process under one body.

He noted that couples who married in the provinces seldom have their union legally registered at the Office of the Registrar-General because many people cannot afford to travel to Freetown.

Kamara further explained that most people do not have national Identity cards and that some were not registered at birth because offices that are responsible to issue them birth certificate are centralised in the city.

According to him, some people possess several national identity cards with different information, which according to him they sometimes used to perpetuate criminal acts and that the new identity card would help prevent that.

He also noted that civil registration is the only data system that would provide up-to-date information to government and help in planning and provision of basic amenities to the age and different sexes.

The chief registrar continued that the civil registration would be a continuous and permanent process and that the secretariat would provide permanent structures in every district in the country, as well as employ staff from within the districts.

Kamara pleaded with Paramount Chiefs to educate their subjects about the upcoming civil registration and mobilise them to fully participate in the process.

He informed the people of Kenema, Pujehun and Kailiahun that after the registration process government would deploy police officers at different check-points across the country who would be asking citizens and non-citizens to produce their new identity cards.

The Southern Regional Chief of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Abu-bakarr Javombo, said they were working in partnership with NRS to achieve a successful national registration.

He emphasized that NRS would not hijack the voters registration process from NEC, but rather make their job lighter during elections period.

Javombo pleaded with politicians to encourage their supporters to actively participate in the registration process, adding that identity cards provided after the process would be used for voting purposes.

Member of All Political Parties Association (APPA) and chairman and leader of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Coker, said civil registration could determine whether a party wins or loses an election. He opined that the new identity card would avoid elections fraud and other malpractices.

Coker reiterated that political parties were in support of the process to make sure Sierra Leone conducts open, transparent and credible elections in 2018, thus calling on the people to take care of their new identity card as it would be used for voting.

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