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Lagos begins Data Capturing Of 20 Million Residents

Lagos state governor Babatunde Fashola

The African Examiner, USA

Lagos state governor Babatunde Fashola

Lagos state governor Babatunde Fashola

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola on Thursday flagged off statewide registration of about 20 million Lagosians in a bid to capture their data for policy formulation and planning for the populace.

The governor urged residents in the State, irrespective of state of origin, to get involved in the exercise at any of the several registration centres across Lagos, Nigeria.

The exercise, being undertaken by officers of the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA), is aimed at creating useful database of all residents in Lagos State with a view to providing useful information for social welfare, political, security, business, employment and financial activities, among others.

It is also aimed at creating database for housing and demography statistics for health related matters such as health insurance as well as facilitating unified planning and implementation of development projects.

Addressing a diverse audience of professionals, businessmen and women, government officials retired civil servants and other categories of residents of Lagos State as well as a delegation from Kano State at the capacity filled Adeyemi Bero Multi-purpose Hall at the Lagos State Secretariat Alausa, Fashola said the government decided to pursue the initiative because of its inherent benefits to the welfare of the citizenry.

According to him, although the government had gathered considerable data from sources like vehicle licensing, drivers’ licensing, motorcycle riders’ scheme, tax payment, land ownership and enrollments in schools, among others, there still exists a gap created by those outside some or even all of the aforementioned groups.

“In an information technology driven age, data collection, processing and management has become the gold standard and the most important currency that any community can seek to acquire”, the governor said, adding that government had a responsibility to provide for all categories of its citizens.

Fashola said the vision behind the residents registration initiative was to create a City-State where every community had exactly enough public schools to cater for the children in it with the students having enough infrastructure, teachers and resources to get the best possible education, where the travel time was short and predictable, where there were enough hospitals, beds, doctors and nurses, where water runs in taps 24 hours every day and power was stable.

“The signs of that City-State of our dream are emerging; because we are all living witnesses to the improving levels of service delivery. Today’s event enables us to leapfrog our way closer ro that dream..

“Any government that seeks the kind of efficiency that we seek, any government that understands its primary purpose as we do; that we exist for the people and not otherwise, such a government will pursue data collection and management as a critical infrastructure,” he stated.

“Our purpose and focus are the people who live here. Those are the people we have direct responsibility for and they are the people we seek to know so that we can serve them better. Those who reside outside the State are no less important but we do not provide water, transportation, security, education and other services for them,” he added.

On the process of registration, the governor explained that immediately a resident is registered, he or she would be issued a temporary card with a unique identity number which, according to him, “will remain with you for the rest of your life, while your data is processed, verified and corrected, if necessary, before your permanent card is issued.”

He, however, said although every resident was eligible to register and be issued with the unique number, only those from the age of 16 years up would get personal cards while those below that age would be registered as dependants of adult residents and would only get their own unique numbers and personal cards when they attain the age of 16.

Fashola, who cited the example of the recent flood disaster in Colorado to emphasize the importance of data collection, said the exercise would also enable government get the data of the physically challenged and victims of natural or man-made disasters quicker and more accurately than using the traditional method.

“While the traditional methods may be useful in gathering such information, it is unarguable that accuracy is questionable and speed becomes an issue as we have seen in our attempt to try to enumerate people entitled to compensation within our State. The exercise is not going to be a rush-rush one but a continuous process with provision for regular updates.

“All residents should take the quickest opportunity to benefit from this so that we can collate our final data, print cards and issue them before opening for update of new residents” adding that Government has also provided mobile registration teams that would visit offices and business places who have more than 100 staff in their employment.

Fashola urged residents to ensure that they register only once in order not to create difficulties for the collating officials.

He, however, assured that even this error could not defeat the efforts of the government in getting accurate data, pointing out that although it could add to the implementation time for data verification, the Automatic Finger Print Identification System (AFIS) had the capacity for facial and fingerprint identification.

General Manager of LASRRA, Ms Olayinka Fashola enumerated the benefits of the exercise to include enabling government know the number of people to cater for as an incentive to determining the overall resources required to formulate and implement policies, projects and programmes for the people.

Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Kadri Hamzat urged every resident to take part in the exercise, pointing out that the days of ambiguity of people have gone forever, adding that 30 countries of the world, including India and Burkina Faso, were undertaking the same exercise.

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