By Ugo Aliogo
The Director General, Nigeria Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Aziz stated that the commission needs between three and five years for full registration of citizens.
In addition, he said the agency would be focusing on its core regulatory functions as well as some form of verification.
He disclosed this recently at the Pre-#NES26 event with the theme: “Digital Identity as a foundation for Digital Economy and achieving the SDGs,” organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
The NIMC DG stated that the commission was collaborating with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and National Orientation Agency (NOA) to ensure voter validation happens with the National Identity Number (NIN).
“The NIMC aims to register every Nigerian and issue them a unique identity. The NIMC act aims at reinforcing data protection and privacy laws, mandatory use of National Identity Number (NIN) by Telecommunication companies, ensuring the NIN is a unique identifier for public servants and an upgrade of the automated biometric identification system ABIS,” he said.
The Director, NESG Board, Mrs. Wonu Adetayo, said the implementation of a unified identification system cannot be over-emphasised, noting that it would provide the country the opportunity to take optimum, “advantage of a vibrant digital ecosystem that is obtainable in highly innovative nations across the globe.”
She further hinted that the NESG applauds the strategic implementation roadmap for digital ID which recognises the need to leverage Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) to scale the enrolment process to reach at least 150 Million Nigerians in 3-5 years.
The Nigeria Country Director World Bank, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, stressed the need to use an ecosystem approach that coordinates enrollment partners in the private sector, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and government.
He maintained that enrollment partnership would help to accelerate enrollment systems, legal frameworks and a strong robust authentic management system that can help to boost any Nigeria’s digital economy.
The Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs Office, David Andrew, who represented the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, said partnerships across board would help to stimulate the economy, adding that better identification systems would, “help to improve transparency, reduce waste and address a number of developmental challenges.”
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, VerifyMe, Mr. Esigie Agele, revealed that only about 11 percent of Nigerians have a national ID given by NIMC and that a lot of Nigerians carry multiple forms of ID as opposed to having a single identifiable ID.
He pointed out that it was essential for Nigeria to have a trusted identification system to boost socio-economic growth.
Agele said: “Government must look at digital ID from a foundational and functional identity data component perspective to address its suitability for national security, social and financial inclusion.”
In his remarks, the Country Director of DAI, Dr. Joe Abah, affirmed that the revision of the NIMC Act would bring on board private sector and civil society representatives to help strengthen the agency.
“NIMC was grossly underfunded between 2008 and 2016 with a release rate of 53 per cent. The NIMC Director-general has alluded to the issues of staffing and remuneration. There is a financial problem, personnel problem and policy with a plethora of organisations involved with identification without much co-ordination,” Abah added.