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Border closure forces Sokoto villagers to scramble for National ID card

Many residents are braving the harsh conditions to sleep in the open at the vicinities of the Gudu local government secretariat in a desperate move…

Many residents are braving the harsh conditions to sleep in the open at the vicinities of the Gudu local government secretariat in a desperate move to beat long queues for the National ID Card.

Hundreds of locals from across various villages of the council have been besieging the registration centre at Balle, headquarters of the local government area.

Gudu shares borders with the Niger Republic to the north and the west. Ongoing nation-wide border control had paralysed trans-border business activities with the movement of commuters affected along Gudu-Bachaka road and Gudu-Kurdula road.

Before the prevailing restrictions on Nigerian land borders, these routes were the favourites of many businessmen and commercial drivers who take goods out to the neighbouring Niger Republic without let or hindrance.

These were sprightly routes especially on the eve of market days when goods are transported into the Niger Republic mostly at night to get there in good time.

But with the recent development, checkpoints dot the length of Tangaza-Balle road, Balle –Bachaka road, and Balle- Kurdula road with the  heavy presence of combined security teams.

They stop vehicles and demand for ID card, a situation which has resulted in the locals’ desperate efforts to get the National ID Card.

Usman Magaji,20, is from Hus village of Gudu. He said sleeping at the secretariat was a decision he had to take to get the national ID card needed to ascertain their identity as Nigerians.

“We had no choice but to sleep here to join the queue as early as possible the next day,” he said.

“Though it is quite taxing, we don’t mind losing sleep to get the identity card. We lay on bare floors and battle with mosquitoes.”

“Most of us you see here could not even go out to take breakfast for fear of losing our chances of obtaining it.”

“To have rest of mind, we had to forgo our farming and domestic activities to come for registration,’’ he said.

Mohammed Suleiman, 19, and Bashiru Isah both from Gimba village said they arrived Balle since Tuesday but were yet to be registered as at 12noon on Thursday.

Mohammed said he frantically needed the ID Card to facilitate his movement within and outside the local government area. “With the current trend of serious security checks at various points on our major roads, we must have this ID card to continue our businesses.”

Bashir Isah, a frequent traveler to the southern part of the country also said he observed that without the ID Card, it would pose a challenge for him now that the government had intensified security all over the country.

Sixty-five-year-old Abubakar Nasamu had succeeded in being registered. Nasamu from Dayeji village, spent a day and a half before he could register for the now much- sought- for National ID Card.

Abubakar received a temporary slip indicating that he had undergone the primary stage. He has to wait for a more formal slip from NIMC, which Caliphate Trust learnt will be available after five days.  The ID Card would follow much later.

The NIMC Supervisor in charge of the Gudu local government area Mudassir Shehu confirmed that since Monday  last week, people have been coming out en-masse to register more than ever before.

“The exercise is in its fourth day, and I have registered close to 200 people.”

The Supervisor said the local council assisted his office with some necessary facilities and logistics to facilitate the registration process.

He revealed that in a day, over 300 people troop to the centre for the exercise which officially commences at 9 am and closes at 4 pm daily.

Shehu is the only NIMC officer for the area, and with just one set of computers, the prevailing situation seemed  overwhelming.

But he said: “The main challenge is the fluctuating service which slows the process, making us register just a few from the crowd. Sometimes we could only register 40-50 persons when the system is functioning well. But when service is not available, which is frequent, we cannot go above 10-15.”


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