On 6th November, 2015 the Cabinet approved the introduction of the ECOWAS Multipurpose Identification (ID) Cards. The then Minister of Interior, the late J.B. Dauda was able to convince his colleagues in the Cabinet to approve the implementation of the ECOWAS harmonized Multipurpose ID Cards in Sierra Leone.
Currently Senegal, Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia and even The Gambia have all taken firm steps to ensure the speedy implementation of the ECOWAS Multipurpose ID Cards.
The ECOWAS Multipurpose ID Cards are meant to ease travelling within the ECOWAS sub-region by citizens of member states.
It is also very cheap and very durable. It is all encompassing! With the ECOWAS Multipurpose ID Card, ECOWAS citizens travelling within the sub-region do not need to carry their national Passports any longer.
When the NCRA (National Civil Registration Authority) was established, the Government created the impression that it was done purely because it would create a database of all citizens and non-citizens residing in the country.
The NCRA was expected to have started the implementation of the ECOWAS Multipurpose Identification Cards long before now. But, unfortunately, the leadership of that Authority seems to be bereft of ideas as to how to go about implementing the policy.
The Director General of NCRA, Foday Kamara worked briefly at the ACC (Anti Corruption Commission) as Head of Intelligence. He was relieved of his duties under very suspicious circumstances. The then Commissioner of the ACC, Prof. Henry Joko-Smart never trusted the credibility of Mr. Foday Kamara.
When the NCRA was set up, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Major Ismael Sengu Koroma was charged with the responsibility of overseeing the activities of the Authority and its Board.
In January this year, Maj. Sengu Koroma was removed from overseeing all issues relating to NCRA even without his knowledge, according to credible sources in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The Minister, Maj. (Rtd.) Alfred Palo Conteh was instructed by the President to take direct oversight control over the activities of NCRA.
Maj. Sengu Koroma was seen as too much of a thorn in the flesh of Foday Kamara and a coterie of his political backers at the APC Headquarters.
We return to the question: What has really happened to the implementation of ECOWAS Multipurpose Identification Cards?