The Ondo State Residency Card Project | Independent Newspapers Limited
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The Ondo State Residency Card Project

Posted: Jul 15, 2015 at 3:18 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Recent Media reports that the Ondo State government has imposed a N2, 000 levy on the residents of the state to procure their Residency Cards in the ongoing residents’ registration exercise in the state, otherwise known as ‘Kaadi igbe ayo’ is condemnable. Indeed, it has generated a widespread criticism from different quarters especially from the main opposition political party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC) who sees the development as another means of impoverishing the people of the state. There is no doubt that the Ondo State Residency Registration initiative is plausible at a time when there is a great demand for an accurate database of residents across the country for effective government planning. But the N2 000 price tag on it is, to say the least, the snag.

For sure, the project is billed to capture all residents in Ondo State into a unified database system to know the number of people residing in the State for social security purposes. Under the initiative, residents will be issued with a multi-application smart card with a chip that stores the bearer’s data which would validate them as residents of the state. Through this, they would be able to access and benefit from micro-credit and economic empowerment programmes of government.  Other benefits include, having access to agricultural inputs and supplies, free Education among others. The project reportedly would bar those without residency cards from any form of social benefit in the state.

The Ondo State government has issued some justifications on the levy tag development saying that it would brew a sense of responsibility and value for the cards in the residents. It also said that the monies realised from the exercise would be deployed to developmental programmes of government. However, this newspaper believes that this is preposterous considering that a lot of the residents may not have any means of livelihood. Perhaps, the least the Ondo State government would have done is to issue the cards free to the residents since it is for their social welfare. Certainly, levying the poor masses of Ondo state at this austere period in the name of residents’ cards as a means of increasing Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) after paying tax and other sundry levies is totally unacceptable and seem to negate the inherent benefits in the initiative.

Recall that a similar residents’ registration programme has been initiated in Lagos State conducted by Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASSRA). The Lagos edition is still ongoing with similar benefits but at no cost. It is our thinking that the Residency Card should be an instrument of access by the people to dividends of democracy in the state. We, therefore, urge the Ondo State government to take a cue from the Lagos experience and consider rescinding the imposed N2, 000 levy, as this would cast a doubt on the sincerity of purpose with which it is implementing this initiative.