The Presidency has denied media reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the use of national identity cards for the 2019 general elections.
Laolu Akande, senior special assistant to the vice-president on media and publicity, said this in a statement released on Friday.
He said: “Our attention has been drawn to some misleading newspaper reports today (Friday) claiming that the President gave ‘orders’ that national identity cards be used in the 2019 elections.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, the President has made no such order and the Vice-President’s speech (delivered by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Ade Ipaye at the Policy Roundtable on Identity Eco-System in the country, which the report used to make such erroneous claims), certainly made no mention of the 2019 elections at all.
“What the speech said was that the President has taken an initiative to harmonise identity management in the country so as to ensure that every Nigerian has a unique identifier.
“And in the same vein, the speech added that it is the ‘President’s charge that the national identification number is used to authenticate eligible voters in the near future, as well as in the areas of access to health insurance, registration of SIM cards, access to social welfare, financial transactions, etc.
“What this means is that such a unique identifier as the NIN can, when eventually issued, help to confirm age and nationality status of eligible voters, for instance. Or even help determine eligibility of persons presenting themselves for health, social welfare, financial and other available services in the country.
“The President was not giving any directive to INEC regarding 2019. Mr. President and this administration fully respect the autonomy of the Independent National Electoral Commission and also very determined to preserve the integrity of the electoral process at all times.”