Engr Ibilola Kasunmu, General Manager of The Lagos State Residents Registration Agency speaks with CHINYERE ABIAZIEM on the recent launch of the upgraded Lagos Identity (Smart) Card and its benefits. Excerpt:
Recently LASRRA unveiled a new Lagos Identity Card. Tell us about this initiative?
The initiative is to identify every resident of Lagos State, as well as issue them a unique identification number. What we have done is taking it a step further to put benefits on the card to make life easier for residents of the state. So for example, the card is a smart card. It comes with a chip. It comes with a wallet account currently residing with sterling. It comes with the transport applet, also the cowry card has an applet on the card as well. Residents’ identity details are also on the chip, and then we have the possibility of having 25 other services on the chip as well. It can serve 28 different benefits.
Could you expatiate on the benefits?
It is the first of its kind in West Africa, a card that serves multiple purposes. It discourages people from having multiple identities. We hope to ensure that the people that are enjoying the services that are being provided for tax payers in Lagos State, are actually residents of Lagos. Very soon, to have easy access to Lagos State Government services, residents will be required to produce their cards before they are granted access to health facilities. Before you can go to the state’s schools, you will need to be registered with the agency and provide your Lagos State residents’ ID. Then, for those that have served the state like we have our pensioners, they will be identified with that card and have access to benefits like discounted transport services where they will pay a reduced fare. The only way we can do this is if they are registered. Also, the card has financial inclusion which is part of promoting a cashless economy. Every single resident that is registered on that card has access to banking facilities, be it loans e.t.c. Like for now, residents can use resident card as a form of payment on any of our transportation services as the buses, ferries and trains, Sterling Bank has already said that they would grant them some kind of credit. Even if you do not have any money on that card, you will be granted some sort of credit facility so that you are not stranded and still be able to move from one place to the other. The greatest benefit of all is security, where every single person residing in Lagos is identified. So there is no anonymity to who your neighbour is, and the people that actually live around you or are moving around you. The benefits will continue to grow as we come along as well.
You mentioned that the card will be required to access services in state hospitals and schools, are these happening soon?
No. It is underway. It is a work in progress. Before we can put any enforcement we need to first of all ensure that the cards are in everybody’s hands. First of all, we are advocating for people to enroll and they get the cards as well.
Is it actually possible for Lagos State to have the data of every resident?
Yes. It is possible with the cooperation of the residents. So that is why you see that our a d v o c a c y is coming from a beneficial point of view. We are coming with ‘if you don’t do this, you won’t get that’, but with ‘if you do this, these are the benefits that will be accruable to you.’ It is by government looking for ways to serve the residents better.
How about the homeless?
We are working with the community leaders to help in identifying these people. We have a template where community leaders and members can be able to vouch for a homeless person. Whether they are registered or not, some do not have anywhere to go, so the best is to get them registered and have their database to serve as deterrent in case such person commits an offence
How about a situation where people give fake or wrong information?
There will be penalty for providing false information. We are hoping that before the end of this quarter, the law hopefully will be passed.
Are there measures on ground to make the process easier by moving registration closer to the people?
For registration, you can start online by visiting our to start your pre-enrolment, and once you have completed the pre-enrolment all you need to do is take your information to any of our centres to come complete it by giving you a biometric data. We have enrolment partners, we have mobile teams who move around. We are working with the market