Stakeholders Restate Importance of NIN to National Identity

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Emma Okonji

Stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, have restated the importance of the National Identity Number (NIN) to the economy.

They also supported efforts of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the government agency charged with the responsibility of registration and issuance of national identity cards, to ensure that Nigerians get their NIN.

The stakeholders said the need for all adult Nigerians to register and get their NIN, became imperative, following the rise in Nigeria’s population, which was recently put at 198 million by the Chairman of the National Population Commission, Eze Duruiheoma, a figure that is up from the initial 180 population as recorded by the Commission.

Considering the rapid growth in the country’s population, one of the stakeholders, a data analyst at Media Digest, Obuns Solomon, who spoke at a recent stakeholders’ gathering in Lagos, said having a national identification, through NIN, government would be able to plan for the large families and youthful population that would drive economic growth in Nigeria.

“Aside giving the exact figures of exact population across all social, economic and age brackets, the NIN will also help government in planning well with available resources,” Solomon said.

According to him, to achieve the goal of having the exact number of citizens and legal residents in all economic and age brackets, there must be in place a robust national identification system.

“Having a centralised national identification database therefore has been one challenge Nigeria is yet to deal with,” he added.

Commending the initiative of government in establishing NIMC, through Act No. 23 of 2007, Solomon however said having a unique identification and achieving the desired goal have remained a tall order, a situation he blamed on government bureaucracy.

According to him, those saddled with the responsibility to deliver on the mandate of the Commission had been up to their task.

Another stakeholder, Mr. Jude Okoro, decried the poor funding of NIMC by government, a situation he said was affecting the issuance of identity cards to Nigerians, after several months of registration with the NIN number.
“For many Nigerians therefore, the hope of having a national identification that captures them in the system is still but a dream.

“Yet, in the apparent dim hope there exists sparkling of light in the tunnel that requires the action, understanding and effort on the part of the government, which must provide the funding and the citizenry who must come out to take that which belongs to them: their identity.

“To do this, the citizens must go out and enrol to be captured in the national database,” the stakeholder said.
The Director General of NIMC, Aliyu Abubakar Aziz, recently emphasised the need for registration and obtaining of the NIN, insisting that the NIN is as important as the card itself, since means of identification is the NIN and not even the card being clamoured for by many Nigerians.