Non-Production of ID Cards Triggers Informal Acquisition Networks

National ID


A remarkable slowdown in the production of national identity cards through the official channels at police offices across the country has engendered a spate of informal acquisition alternatives that tap directly from the main production point at Mvan in Yaounde, has discovered.

The so-called ‘reseau’ that now flourishes in the country is mostly exacted by intermediaries operating in the dark with alleged contacts at SACEL, the French private company that manages Cameroon’s computerized identification database and prints national identity cards.

This dismal informal mechanism that entails the payment of substantial ‘encouragement fees’ by people in difficulty arises from the fact that the systematic production of ID cards has long been hampered by unpaid bills owed SACEL by the government of Cameroon, learned.

At the judicial police headquarters at Elig-Esono, Yaounde, where a special identification post has been operated for years, citizens applying for national identity cards are constantly being sent away to other smaller identification posts to get their problems solved. “They asked me to go back to Melen where I live at the moment,” one woman who badly needed an ID card told “They established a receipt but I met many people who are yet to have their main ID card printed. The commissioner was busy extending validity periods,” she said.

Another case encountered by was that of a man who badly needed a national identity card in order to apply for passport. With pressing deadlines to meet, he claimed to have located a contact that could help get a new identity card in just 5 days at a colossal fee.

Based on his testimony, his ‘network’ goes right up into the machines at SACEL where a new card would be printed in very short time. could not independently verify most of his claims. He however, he insisted that several friend had exploited the same channel to get both ID cards and passports delivered.

In the past, many Cameroonians in difficulty have shared experiences of extra fees paid to obtain passports or national ID cards in a bid to circumvent the administrative bottlenecks that mostly characterize the application process. In some cases, some persons with double identification incidents in the database SACEL go seeking for cash-demanding contacts that could bypass the deadlock and help them get a passport with the identity of choice.

Source: The Post

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