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Kenyans, Cameroonians reminded to pick up their biometric IDs

Phase two of Huduma Namba enrollment set to begin
Kenyans, Cameroonians reminded to pick up their biometric IDs

Kenyan authorities are calling on citizens to clear the backlog of uncollected biometric national identity cards, known as the Huduma Namba, which have been produced and are lying fallow at enrollment offices.

Shahidi News reports that the government has so far produced about nine million of the cards and sent to all the Counties of the country, but only about six million have been withdrawn by their owners.

The outlet quotes the Kenyan government spokesman, Colonel Cyrus Oguna as calling on Kenyans who have not yet collected their cards to do so. The cards, the spokesman said, can be tracked using a dedicated website for the purpose.

“We are excited that the number of cards collected has continued to grow and we want to urge our people, particularly those who have already received notification messages, to go and collect their cards,” Oguna told Shahidi News.

The official said it is important for the produced cards to be collected especially as plans are at an advanced stage for the commencement of the second phase of registration for the Huduma Namba ID project.

The calls for card applicants to pick them up follow complaints that government’s efforts to deliver the IDs using a door-to-door strategy had been disrupted due to droughts and security concerns especially in the northern parts of the country.

The door-to-door method was adopted after authorities noticed delays on the part of citizens in collecting their cards, Shahidi News notes.

The government spokesman has also called on citizens to be careful not to fall prey to scams.

“We wish to remind Kenyans that the issuance of Huduma Card is free. Nobody should be conned to giving out any money to anyone. Any message purporting to be coming from the government and asking the recipient for any money is fake and should be treated as so,” he told Shahidi News.

Cameroon reports nearly 3,000 unclaimed new biometric passports, 500K ID cards

Cameroon’s National Delegation for National Security (DGSN) has revealed that close to 3,000 newly produced biometric passports are yet to be picked up by their owners.

This comes just two months after the production process of the passports (which are issued within two days) rumbled off. The passport issuance began on July 1, but the national production center for the ID document in the capital Yaounde was inaugurated only recently by the Secretary General at Cameroon’s Presidency, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh.

Police Superintendent Albert Bernard Njella, who heads the national center in charge of producing identity documents in Cameroon, told reporters during a recent visit to ID production facilities in Yaounde, that many of the credentials have been abandoned for years.

He disclosed that apart from passports, there are also more than 500,000 national identity cards (some of them biometrics-based) which are yet to be withdrawn.

At one of the centers visited, Njella pointed to piles of ID cards that have been abandoned by their owners. He said of the abandoned number, 260,000 of them were produced under the biometric system. Cameroon started issuing biometric national ID cards in 2016.

Many of the cards, Njella added, have already attained their date of expiry, while hundreds of others will expire in the next five years. Cameroonian ID cards have a ten-year validity. It is five for passports.

The DGSN official blamed the phenomenon on negligence on the part of citizens, and has called on them to exercise civic responsibility by always checking out the status of any identity credential they apply for.

He used the opportunity to present to the public various methods through which applicants can verify if the document they applied for has already been produced. Apart from automated text message alerts in the case of passports, there are toll-free phone numbers (1500 and 1550), five WhatsApp numbers, other DGSN social media handles, as well as their website.

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