By Emma Okonji
The Director General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Aliyu Aziz, has said the agency is targeting to enroll the entire population of the country into the National Identity Number (NIN) scheme and issue them identity cards within the next three to five years, using ecosystem approach.
Nigerian population is currently put at over 200 million.
Aziz, who gave the assurance in a recent webinar with journalists, said the current statistics on NIN registration, showed that the Commission would be able to achieve the set target by 2025.
Speaking on the digital identity data growth of the country, Aziz said: “NIMC embarked on an enrollment strategy in 2012, which has grown exponentially since 2015. As at 2015, the total number of national identity registration was seven million, and in 2016, the figure rose to 14 million.
“In 2017 and 2018, NIN registration reached 28 million and 32 million respectively and as at December 2019, the registration figure reached 39.5 million. As at May this year, NIMC has registered a total of 41.5 million Nigerians on the NIN database and the number in increasing by the day.”
According to him, the identity implementation targets include: to provide seamless digital identity for all, extend coverage nationwide, harmonise functional identities to the NIN in phases, scale up identity infrastructure for optimal efficiency, strengthen legal and regulatory framework, and reduce cost of data collection, among others.
Despite the targets, Aziz, however said funding has been a major challenge for the Commission in accomplishing its goals and targets.
Citing the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2018 report, Aziz said over 100 million Nigerians have no official identity, which include the poorest and most vulnerable groups such as marginalised women and girls, less-educated people.
According to the report, only about 38 per cent of the population have any form of identity. Aziz, however said the Commission remained optimistic in concluding the NIN registration for the entire country within the next three to five years, going by the growth record of the country’s digital identity data.
Worried that over 100 million Nigerians do not have official identity, Aziz said: “It is only in Nigeria that government do not have the exact data of its citizens because several agencies of government that are responsible for data capturing and storage, still have their data in silos, which has been a major challenge for government to have harmonised data system because each of the data capturing agencies of government do not have standardised system of data capturing.”