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Nigerians based in the United States are to pay between 40 and 50 dollars each to be enrolled for the National Identity Number (NIN), according to an official.

Ms Uche Chigbo, the Special Assistant to the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), stated this in New York on Thursday.

The New Agency of Nigeria reports that Chigbo spoke during a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Consulate shortly before the exercise was launched in the city.

She said that registrants from zero to 15 years old would pay 40 dollars each, while those from 16 years and above will pay 50 dollars.

At the official exchange rate, 50 dollars is equivalent to N15,300, while 40 dollars amounts to N12,240.

Chigbo, who is also the Deputy General Manager of NIMC, explained that the commission came up with the fee after looking at the entire process and what it involved.

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She said, “NIMC does not have the legal backing and the resources to go to another country to enrol people, and capture biometrics and other data.

“It is in this light that we decided to license private sector organisations which have the legal backing to engage in such service provision for the country.

“And they are a going concern; they made investment in terms of equipment because we didn’t give them the equipment they are using; they have to buy all of that.

“They are also renting offices, employing people and establishing connection between whichever country they are operating in and Nigeria so that they can seamlessly send the records real time online.

“All of these are investments they are making and as a going concern, a token should be paid for this service that they are going to be rendering.’’

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NAN reports that the Diaspora NIN Registration was also launched in Houston, Texas on Thursday, after it took off in Atlanta and Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Already, the exercise is ongoing in South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, and would be extended to China, Europe and India soon, according to Chigbo.

Listing its benefits, the NIMC official said it would provide a database for the implementation of the much desired Diaspora voting.

Besides, she said the NIN had become a requirement for access to many services rendered by government and private organisations in Nigeria.

Mr Nicholas Ella, the Consul in Charge of Trade and Invest, said the benefits of the NIN registration could not be over-emphasised.

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Ella, who represented the Consul General of Nigeria in New York, said the mission would give the needed support for the exercise to be successful.

“Apart from Diaspora voting, the missions too want to have data of Nigerians residing in their various jurisdictions.

“As a mission, we should assist Nigerians to get through the initial hurdles. Once they go through it, I don’t think we should have any challenges with them in the future.

“ Once one or two persons have gone through the process and they start communicating among themselves, I do not see any challenges in executing this mandate.

`Nigerians don’t like to leave their jobs. So, the timing for the services should be a little bit flexible to accommodate these needs,’’ he said.

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