Nigeria’s ID manager, Chams dispute National ID card deal gone sour

Nigeria’s ID manager, Chams dispute National ID card deal gone sour

Nigeria’s ID manager, Chams dispute National ID card deal gone sour

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The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the ID managers of Nigeria and Chams Plc, a Nigerian technology company specializing in identity management services, have continued to trade blame over alleged breach of contract regarding the nation’s National ID Card project.
Demola Aladekomo, Founder and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian technology company, Chams Plc, claimed that an alleged breach of the National ID project contracted to the company by the Federal Government of Nigeria, caused the company losses totaling over N9.2b and shut-down of its ChamsCities across the country.
Aladekomo’s company alleged that the National ID concession deal granted Chams Plc under the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo “was frustrated by the leadership of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC)”, a decision that led to the cited losses and shutdown of its ChamsCities in in Lagos, Abuja, Benin and Port Harcourt.

[blockquote right=”pull-right”]“Demola Aladekomo, Founder and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian technology company, Chams Plc, claimed that an alleged breach of the National ID project contracted to the company by the Federal Government of Nigeria, caused the company losses totaling over N9.2b and shutdown of its ChamsCities across the country.”[/blockquote]

 

Demola Aladekomo, Founder and Group Managing Director of Chams Plc
Demola Aladekomo, Founder and Group Managing Director of Chams Plc
In a swift reaction, Chris Onyemenam, Director-General of NIMC has responded to Aladekomo’s allegations denying claims of the company while describing it is as “unfortunate and unsuccessful attempt to twist facts and the sequence of events to suit their claims and mislead the general public.”
Onyemenam, who was reacting to a newspaper report on the matter cited in a statement issued on NIMC’s website that the concession disputed concession deal “was terminated in line with the Concession Agreement in February 2015 for non-performance.”
Chams Plc stirred the hornet’s nest when it recently announced the closure of the last of four of its ChamsCities set up in Lagos, Abuja, Benin and Port Harcourt “due to lack of use of its digital citizen registration and mass enrollments infrastructure.”
Other business process outsourcing services offered at the digital mall that includes contact centre services, computer based testing, pre-qualification employee tests and staff training, will now be offered by ChamsCity from Its new location in Victoria Island, Lagos.
In the company’s official statement attributed to Ola Olasiyan, Chief Service Officer at Chams Plc, the company claimed that, “we lost N9.2b on ChamsCity, ChamsSwitch and CardCentre operations and have decided to close down loss makers tied to our concession on the national identity project that was frustrated by the leadership of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).”
Chams Plc said that ChamsCity was built in 2009 after its parent company, Chams Plc “got a concession agreement from the Federal Government under the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to deliver the National Identity project for the country.”
According to the Nigerian technology company, its ChamsCity malls in Lagos, Abuja, Benin and Port Harcourt were established as Nigeria’s pioneer digital mall to provide enormous capital-intensive resources, “which will accelerate citizen enrolment and registration for National identity management system and for large scale data management in a conducive, serene, and secured environment.”
According to the company, “we have remained resilient, and have taken learnings from the frustration of our concession on the national identity card project. With the success recorded on the ongoing Bank Verification Number (BVN) Project and a host of other Identity related projects that Chams is working on, we now see a clearer, more-timely and potentially large opportunity to help transform the identity management sector of the economy. Hence our decision to refocus our efforts and investments by streamlining ChamsCity.”
Chams Plc added that the closure of Ikeja ChamsCity digital mall in Lagos means that all four ChamsCity facilities situated in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Benin “have now been dissolved without serving the primary purpose of their establishment.”
Under the plan, Ikeja ChamsCity, which is being relocated to Victoria Island and the Abuja ChamsCity now focuses on contact centre services, Computer based testing, examination and training, among other business process outsourcing services.

 

[blockquote right=”pull-right”]“Onyemenam, Director-General of NIMC, who is at the centre of the controversial National ID card concession deal cancellation, claimed that Aladekomo is “waging a campaign of calumny” against him.”[/blockquote]

Chris Onyemenam, Director General of NIMC
Chris Onyemenam, Director General of NIMC
The NIMC chief however said that, “The National Identity Management Commission categorically denies all the allegations in the report and reject in its entirety the provocative and disrespectful attempt by the Mr. Aladekomo led Management of Chams Plc to blame NIMC for its poor performance which has resulted in the reported shut down of Chams City Project operations, perhaps including the suspension of the Chams Plc shares from trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange sometime ago.”
According to NIMC, its “management has noted the unfortunate and unsuccessful attempt to twist facts and the sequence of events to suit their claims and mislead the general public, including the misrepresentation on the FEC approved 30.66bn three year funding for the NIMS project, in spite of the fact that Management had published audited accounts of how the amount released so far had been spent. The Management of NIMC considers this development as most embarrassing and unbecoming of a publicly quoted company in Nigeria. It is indeed preposterous to accuse a Federal Government Agency of ‘stealing Intellectual Property and Technical Partners’ from a private sector operator that claims to be the number one in the industry.”
According to the government agency, its boss declined comment on the newspaper report “as the substance of the news report is the subject of an arbitration proceeding that is still pending. It would therefore be most inappropriate for NIMC to join issues with Chams Plc on the pages of newspapers on a pending arbitration. Prior to this, the matter had been dealt with in three different cases at the Federal High Courts Abuja where Chams Plc and Chams Consortium Limited had filed different suits.”
Onyemenam, Director-General of NIMC, who is at the centre of the controversial National ID card concession deal cancellation, claimed that Aladekomo is “waging a campaign of calumny” against him.
“Before then, in 2014, Mr. Aladekomo had published a Lecture he gave at the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Nigeria, with very serious allegations against the Management of NIMC and the person of the Director General. There were so many other similar efforts, which Management considered on the whole as distracting. It would therefore not be surprising to Management if in the coming days and weeks leading to the final hearing of the Arbitration such articles, opinions and news report will flood the Nigeria media”, the government agency alleged.

 

[blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”Chris Onyemenam, Director-General of NIMC to Chams Plc”]“Management has noted the unfortunate and unsuccessful attempt to twist facts and the sequence of events to suit their claims and mislead the general public, including the misrepresentation on the FEC approved 30.66bn three year funding for the NIMS project, in spite of the fact that Management had published audited accounts of how the amount released so far had been spent. The Management of NIMC considers this development as most embarrassing and unbecoming of a publicly quoted company in Nigeria. It is indeed preposterous to accuse a Federal Government Agency of ‘stealing Intellectual Property and Technical Partners’ from a private sector operator that claims to be the number one in the industry.”[/blockquote]

President Muhammadu Buhari, seated, undergoing the biometric capture by officials of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, seated, undergoing the biometric capture by officials of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in Abuja
According to NIMC, its “management is conscious of the fact that since this is the subject of an arbitration proceeding it cannot respond to these allegations and misinformation beyond this. Not that it cannot and or does not have enough facts to expose the underlying shenanigans being perpetrated by Chams Plc. The appropriate thing to do, we feel, and have taken appropriate steps, is to report the matter to the Arbitration Panel. Furthermore we advise the general public, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Nigerian Stock Exchange to take note, check the documents filed by the Company and more importantly to await the outcome of the Arbitral proceedings. It will not only help set the records straight, in law and equity, it would also help prove the character and intent of the personages involved beyond reasonable doubt, including especially the allegations of theft of intellectual property and technical partners, utilization of funds raised from the capital market, etc.”
Onyemenam confirmed that a concession was granted to Chams Consortium Limited in July 2010 and this was terminated “in line with the Concession Agreement in February 2015 for non-performance.
According to him, “Chams Plc had filed three suits in Court and these were promptly heard and Chams Plc agreed with the Court ruling to revert to the Arbitration process which is currently ongoing. Therefore the allegation that NIMC had used ‘federal might’ to frustrate its effort and deny it justice at the Courts is malicious, provocative and intended to give a bad impression and mislead the public about the operations and conduct of the Management of the NIMC.”
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