THE Lagos State government, on Tuesday, began distribution of the Lagos State resident cards, a proof of residency in the state, which the government said would aid planning, budgeting and determination of the number of persons to be provided for.
With the commencement of the distribution of the permanent cards, residents who had been registered and issued temporary cards can pick up their cards from the nearest registration point to them.
This is as Governor Babatunde Fashola hinted of a possible closure of the registration exercise some time in June 2015, saying it was costing the state government a lot of money paying staff engaged for the project. The exercise which began last year had not recorded impressive response from residents, because less than three million of the estimated 20 million population had so far registered.
Fashola, who described the exercise as the future with lots of benefits, including creation of reliable database, urged all residents yet to register to do so in their interest.
“We have taken a big step into the future. This is not about today, but about tomorrow. I get embarrassed when figures are read out that in Nigeria, we are 140, 160 or 170 million, depending on who is speaking.
“ I usually question how they arrived at those figures. Truth is that if we don’t know how many we are, we cannot plan for us.
“This is about knowing exactly how many people live in Lagos, so that we can adequately plan for them,” the governor said.
The governor said because the registration exercise was providing a database of every resident of the state, it would help a great deal in tracking criminals, because of the availability of the bio-data/ identities, saying this was where the developed economies have advantage in tracking crimes and criminals. “This is possible in Lagos if the people change their mindset,” said Fashola.
General Manager of Lagos State Residents’ Registration Agency (LASRRA), Olayinka Fashola, who re-emphasised the importance of accurate data for planning purposes, said the registration was for all residents of Lagos State, who had lived in Lagos for six months and above.
She said to make the exercise simpler and less stressful, the agency had created an online platform, www.lagosresidents.gov.ng, where residents could register before taking the print-outs to nearest registration centres in the state.