By Ndey Sowe
The Gambia Immigration Department (GID), held a press briefing on the issue of the new ID cards and how they are issued. The Press briefing was held yesterday November 22nd, at the GID headquarters in Banjul. According to officials, the press briefing was meant to shed light on the issue of new ID cards which has unfortunately attracted some unfounded rumours regarding the procedures of issuance. GID Director General Sidy M Touray, said the new national ID card is ECOWAS recommended, and it is an ID card valid in travelling to all the 15th member States.
He said there are security features embedded in the new ID cards.
Touray noted that lots of consultations were made and discussions conducted with officials of Semlex Company, on issues they think should be incorporated in the new document, which have not been there, to ensure the document’s quality. He said Gambians need to be proud of their national identity document, and assured that the document cannot be acquired fraudulently. Touray said the new ID cards should be obtained by only Gambians, that he will ensure whosoever acquires the document, will not get it in a fraudulent manner. He spoke on the issue of the last ID cards which he said, fell into the wrong hands; that the GID will do everything possible to avoid such.
“If anyone tries to get the document fraudulently, the law will act on the individual and they will not compromise such an act,” he said; that even members of his institution will seek approval from his office before they acquire one.
On the issue of the cost of the document, Touray said the price of the ID Card is D450; that Semlex produces the card for D400 and the GID sell the form for D50, that this brings the cumulative cost to D450; that the cost commensurate with the quality of the card.
On the requirement for one to obtain the national ID card, one must produce a birth certificate, in the absence of which, a voters card, registration and naturalization certificate, and an Alkalo or Seffo’s attestations; that the ID cards is for Gambians only; that before, the ID cards were given to non-Gambians; that this is why they are warning that the document is meant only for Gambian nationals.
“If you are not a genuine citizen, you will be rejected or denied the document,” he said.
Touray stresses that the head of the IT Department of GID and the Progrmme Manager of Semlex Company, jointly discussed the issuance of the ID card. This he said is done by GID, to ensure that the interest of Gambians is well protected. ‘‘If you are not providing good answers to the interviewer, you are not providing genuine documents to prove your citizenship, you will be rejected,’’ he said. He added that he was not aware of anyone who has been rejected or denied, to obtain the documents because of tribe. According to statistics, Touray said 7, 956 cards were issued in the Kanifing Municipality, 43 applicants were rejected; 1,646 were issued in Banjul and 6 were rejected. He said the approving officer must have a compelling reason for the rejection and approval of applicants, whom he said, abides by the Law.