By Kebba Secka
Rigorous screening is applied be approval is given for the issuing of national identity cards. This has resulted in many claims for ID cards being rejected leading to some to raise concerns on how the biometric ID cards are issued. Omar Njie posited that his application was rejected for a reason not very clear to him. He showed his previous biometric ID card and birth certificate to this reporter and gave detailed explanation of how his application was rejected. “I applied the same way as I did in the previous formal way of acquiring the biometric but this time, I am denied,” he said. Asked on what ground he was rejected, Njie said he was told that his birth certificate and previous biometric ID cards were not his but documents of one is of his parents.
Fatou Ceesay is one of the applicants waiting to be issued the new biometric ID card. Asked to explain the processes she went through before awaiting her card, Ceesay said she bought a form for D50 which was immediately stamped and she was asked to take it for those assigned to fill the forms and pay D25. According to her, even if one can fill his or her own form, one has to take it to those that fill the form in order to secure a stamp for final submission. She added that after the forms are submitted, the applicants are asked to stay out and wait till they are called. She further noted if they are called, they usually undergo screening after which one will know whether his/her application is accepted or not. Asked to reveal some the attached documents she has in her form, this is what she has to say: “I only photocopied my birth certificate and my previous biometric ID card which expired one year ago,” she explained. However, Ceesay further explained that she was not asked to bring any other documents. She said she was asked to come back on Thursday to pick up her new biometric ID card.
This reporter also visited Kanifing where the ID cards are currently issued to assess the turnout of Gambians and the procedures to go through before acquiring an ID card. During the visit, this reporter tried to seek clarification on some issues in relation to the issuing of the new ID card but the reporter was referred to the PRO of immigration in Banjul. When the PRO was contacted on phone he declined to comment on the issues of concern while urging a meeting with the reporter in his office in Banjul. When met at his office, the PRO still failed to comment saying he was going to a meeting. He asked the reporter to give him a call another time.