The recent order given by the federal government that SIM card registration and issuance of international passports, must be linked to registration of National Identity Number (NIN), has been described as a welcome development that will address the true state of identity of Nigerians.
The order has made it mandatory for all Nigerians to first register with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to obtain a NIN before they could apply for a new SIM card and for issuance and re-issuance of international passports.
The CEO, VerifyMe Nigeria, an identity management and work history reporting platform, Mr. Esigie Aguele, who commended the National Communication Commission (NCC) on the mandatory NIN for SIM card registration, said although it would put additional pressure on Nigerians, the order would go a long way in addressing the issue of falsification of identities during SIM card registrations.
According to him, falsification of identities had led to the rise in kidnapping, where families of kidnapped victims are often contacted through phone numbers to pay ransoms for the freedom of the kidnapped.
NCC gave the directive at the just concluded conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), which it explained was part of efforts “towards engendering the security of lives and property for the economic development of the country.”
Aguele noted that integrating NIN into the SIM registration process was a welcome development as it would enhance growth in both the ID verification and telecommunications industries by deepening trust among stakeholders across the value chain.
He said:“The NCC directive demonstrates that identity management is the foundation of sustainable security that will promote growth in all industries by increase customer throughput and reducing costs to acquire customers during on-boarding. VerifyMe in anticipation of NCC’ actions has an available platform for all Telco’s to fit into their customer acquisition process.
“With a population of about 190 million, the number of active telephone lines in the country is currently at 175 million, representing a tele-density of 91.65 per cent. Internet users stand at 122.6 million while broadband penetration is 35 per cent. Overall, total investment in the Nigerian telecoms sector is over $70 billion with 11.39 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) coming from the sector alone.”
He added: “Against the background of such significant investment and the pervasive impact of the sector on both the national economy and everyday life of citizens, it is only reasonable to put in place regulatory interventions that will ensure we have credible subscriber data.
“As partners to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the government body responsible for the issuance of national identity numbers, VerifyMe Nigeria has been at the forefront of redefining the ID Verification space in Nigeria leveraging technology. Supporting this is our guarantee that our data is trusted and secure, with inbuilt technology surveillance systems to prevent fraud during data collection. Our goal is to solve the trust issue so businesses can process and deliver more real-time services to their customers while making the verification process painless and efficient.”
Citing national security risks over improperly registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card, across all telecoms networks, the Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, last month, gave directive to telecoms operators (Telcos), through the NCC, to deactivate 9.2 million SIM cards belonging to Nigerian subscribers that were improperly registered across various networks.
On assumption of duty in 2015 as the DG of NIMC, Mr. Aliyu Aziz intensified the enrolment of Nigerians into the NIMC database, and stressed the importance of NIN as a mandatory number for all Nigerians.
From the seven million enrolment figure in 2015, Aziz was able to raise the enrolment figure to over 35 million as at April this year. Aziz therefore called on Nigerians to adhere the compulsory registration of NIN.