Officials of the General Delegation of National Security (DGNS) have revealed that more than four million Cameroonians are in situation of irregular identification, making it difficult for them to establish new ID cards if they do not conform with the law of 1980, which gives room for persons in situation of double identification to return to the initial identity they had at birth.
The figures were made public recently during a press visit to different identification centres, amongst which were the National Centre for the Production of Identification Documents and the National Centre for the Production of Passports.
The over four million Cameroonians under double identification are those whose dates of birth, names or names of their parents were modified or had errors at the time of renewing their ID cards.
For their situations to rectified, they police officials indicated that such persons will have to go to identification centres with a copy of the First School Leaving Certificate, baptism card (for Christians) and birth certificates of their parents in order to regularize their identification situations. Those whose ID cards have not been issued since they applied were also encouraged to visit the police stations where they identified themselves and consult lists of rejected files that have been pasted there in order to know why such files were rejected.
Five WhatsApp numbers (696 21 81 28/696 78 27 97/698 30 93 44/693 30 23 55/695 70 62 91) have also been made available through which citizens can find out the situation of their ID cards just by sending a picture of their temporary identification documents (receipts) or by sending their personal information, including name, date of birth and names of parents.
The officials indicated that in about two months from now, ID cards will be digitalized and production will be done within 48 hours, just as the case of passports, and warned that all persons who still have identification problems in the old system will no longer be able to establish new ID cards.
The case of yet-to-be-withdrawn identification cards was also alarming. During a stop-over at the National Centre for the Production of Identification Documents in Tsinga, the head of the Centre, Senior Superintendent of Police–Djella Albert Bernard, revealed that more than 500,000 ID Cards are currently awaiting withdrawal at different police stations across the national territory”Within five years after the new ID Cards were launched, we already have 226,000 of them in different identification centres. If we add the number of old ID cards to this figure, then we will have more than 500,000 ID cards still waiting for their owners to come and collect,” he underlined.
He wondered why Cameroonians have developed the habit of not going to Police Stations in due time to collect their identity cards or find out the situation of their identification documents in general.
At the 10th District Police Station in Bastos, officials told reporters that there are 2698 new ID cards still waiting for their owners to come by and collect, and 3400 old ID cards among which 2000 are already expired.
Mr Djella also launched an appeal for Cameroonians not to be afraid of police stations for that is where identification centres are lodged.
“If they go to the identification centres to collect their ID cards and encounter any difficulties or resistance from the agents, they should call our toll-free numbers 1500 or 1550, lay their complaints and we will react immediately,” he appealed.
Case of Passports
Barely two months after the National Centre for the Production of Passports went operational, more than 3,000 new biometric passports are already piled up at the Centre waiting for the owners to come by and withdraw.
Officials of the Centre complained of inadequate space to stock the documents as the structure was not conceived and constructed with the aim of storing passports upon production.
While appealing for the owners of these passports to come and collect them, the head of the Frontier Police reiterated that the new biometric passports are produced within 48 hours and that Camerooniams should know that the procedure ends when their documents are collected.
Officials at the centre pointed out that during the online registration phase, the applicants have the option to retrieve the passports at their place of choice, in spite of the Centre where they carried out physical identification.
Culled from The Info Newspaper