On National ID Cards

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

National identity cards, just like voter’s card, passports and other national documents, are the inalienable right of all citizens of this country. Therefore, national identity card is an important document in any country. The news that The Gambia will start issuing national ID cards in October is a welcome development. Gambians have long exercised patience as government look for prospective bidders to handle the issuance of the national IDs.

As rightly stated by the vice president, national ID cards are for Gambians and we must jealously guard our national ID cards. We should not allow foreigners to have access to our national document. Let us welcome non-citizens, accommodate them and provide them with all facilities but we should never allow anyone who is not a Gambian to be in possession of our national documents.

As there are rules and regulations governing the issuance of these documents, let us all adhere to this rules. Gambians should understand that national ID card is implemented for national security reasons. Officials have the right to prevent individuals who are not Gambians and want to acquire our national ID cards. ID cards also help law enforcement agents identify an individual who is considered a suspect.

In today’s ever-increasing security threats, many countries are implementing new mechanism by including new security features in their national documents. This is all geared towards ensuring that officials keep track records of all criminals and move one step ahead of fraudsters. The news that this new ID cards will be at par with international standards is laudable. This is geared towards making the document from any alteration by fraudsters. 

ID cards help improve national and international security. It also helps in the fight against identity theft.

But the question is, will ordinary Gambian afford this new ID cards which is pegged at D455? The amount might not be a big deal but we must understand that some would find it difficult to afford this sum. In our opinion, national documents such as ID cards should be made available to ordinary people at a lesser fee. This will also ensure that people go for it in their numbers.

“Without a national ID and the ability to create true data that can be be safely and securely sent between individuals, we are going to introduce new systemic risk back into the system.”

Neal Patterson