By Emma Okonji
The Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Aliyu Aziz, has warned that Nigerians who are yet to register and obtain the National Identification Number (NIN) issued by the Commission, run the risk of being regarded as a non-Nigerian citizen in the next few years.
Aziz who gave the warning at the weekend in Lagos at a press conference organised by NIMC, advised Nigerians that are yet to register, to do so without further delay.
The DG spoke of the commitment and renewed efforts of the federal government, through NIMC, to enlighten Nigerians on the importance of enrolling to obtain the national identification number.
â€œIt is the duty of every citizen to enrol and obtain his or her national identification number, which entitles one to be fully regarded as a Nigerian citizen,â€ he stated, adding that without the NIN, anyoneâ€™s claims of being a Nigerian citizen are doubtful, as stipulated in the NIMC Act.
According to him, the commission has enrolled only 18.5 million Nigerians into the national identity database, out of the over 170 million Nigerian population, which he said, is less that 10 per cent of the entire population of Nigerians.
He said registration centres and located in NIMC offices and other designated centres across every state and local government areas of the country. He insisted that all Nigerians, irrespective of their age, are expected to enroll and obtain their national identity number, through which the national identity card would be produced and issued. He however said identity cards would not be issued to minors until they attain the age of 18, but that it was necessary for them to enroll and obtain their NIN.
Aziz disclosed that the commission had produced 1.2 million cards, but explained that not all the 1.2 million cards have been issued.
The NIMC director-general used the opportunity to clarify the misconception held in some sections of the society that NIMCâ€™s primary role was merely the production and issuance of national identity cards to citizens.Â Â
Identifying the role of the media as pivotal to the success of the federal government target to enrol every citizen and issue same with the NIN, Aziz urged journalists to help in enlightening the public on the urgency and importance of enrolling and obtaining the NIN.
Reeling out the many benefits of the NIN, Aziz said they included one person one identity, enhances participation in the political process, important tool for fight against corruption and terrorism, enables citizens to exercise their rights and facilitates management of subsidies and safety net.
Other benefits are the facilitation of service delivery in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); enhancing activities of law enforcement agencies thereby providing public safety; policing; national security and border protection, among others.
Aziz who was appointed in November 2015, listed some of the key achievements of the commission to include the population of the national identity database, which currently boasts of about 18.5 million records; the establishment of up to 809 NIN enrollment centres nationwide; launch of the new electronic national ID card with multiple functions; achievement of GVCP Certification and recertification of the NIMC Card Personalisation Bureau in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, among other achievements.
He however named funding as the overriding hindrance of the commission in executing its mandate.