The Edo State Government has restated its commitment to issuing one million residency cards to Edo citizens before the fourth quarter of 2024, calling for the support and collaboration of all stakeholders towards the realization of the goal.

The Edo State Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa Esq, made the call while addressing journalists in Benin City after an internal stakeholders’ engagement on the target realization and project sustainability.

Okungbowa said, “The governor has told us that before this administration exits, he wants to ensure that at least one million residency cards are produced. He does not just one million cards produced and issued but that virtually everyone in this state would have been registered and have gotten an Edo State Residency Number to identify them even without the cards.

“You know Mr. Governor launched the project on 11th November at the 2022 Alaghodaro Summit and from that point, we are supposed to take it further because it was also announced on that day that people could now register for the project.”

He said the project will help collate data for the government’s development plans, adding, “It is going to enable us as a state to plan. You know without data you are not going to be able to plan effectively for the people of the state.”

The Head of Service further stated, “What we have done in the past was to plan but haphazardly; plans that you weren’t sure of because there were no enough data to get to know who the people you are planning for are, what are they do and what is in these plans for them.”

Noting the importance of the engagement session for the sustainability of the project, Okungbowa said, “Today, we had people from the local government. We are not going to be going from place to place to register people. We are going to domesticate this within the local governments so that after this initial phase, they will keep it on.”

On her part, the Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Strategy, Policy, Planning and Performance Management, Sarah Esangbedo Ajose-Adeogun said, “The card will assist in providing access to health programmes aimed at specific groups; provide banking services for the unbanked population; assist in providing the right benefits to the right set of people – school, hospital, and pensioners, among others.

“Also, it will aid welfare and temporary assistance scheme; drive citizen interaction programmes; get a credible database of vulnerable people in Edo and serve as wallets to get direct benefits, among other benefits.”