By Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole
The Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr. Aliyu Aziz, has declared that 42 million Nigerians have been captured by the NIMC in the ongoing National Identity Number (NIN) exercise, which is being carried out under the unique digital national identification programme.
Aziz, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during the second edition of the National Identity Day celebration, said the exercise would help to curb insecurity by enabling security agencies to tap into the commission’s database to identify individuals.
The theme of this year’s celebration was tagged “Identity for Health, Sustainable Development and Growth.”
The NIMC boss emphasised that the NIN is for all residents in Nigeria as it does not confer citizenship on anyone.
He said that the NIMC has been able to harmonise 11 million out of 14 million records the commission got from the Central Bank of Nigeria on Nigerians with Bank Verification Number, adding that the harmonisation exercise would be extended to the National Pension Commission, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Federal Road Safety Commission and the Nigeria Communication Commission.
“If you have data, then you can intelligently utilise your data and if all your databases are talking to each other you can drive a lot of intelligence from that data; that is the only way that we can resolve the issue of insecurity,” he said.
Aziz noted that the commission is celebrating 16th September as National Identity Day in collaboration with the global agitation for the day to be formally declared as world international identity day.
“Nigeria has been positioned to take giant steps in providing unique identity to all through collaboration with government institutions and viable partnership with the private sectors. In a similar manner, our nation’s ID goals can be fully realised when we leverage the adoption and use of digital identity to improve governance, enhance social accountability, promote security and provide basic services to the people,” he said.
The director general of the NIMC said that a digital identification system for continuous data and reliable statistics under the new world order is crucial for Nigeria’s survival and growth as a nation in this era of digital inclusion and digital economy.
He said the commission will register children at birth and tie their NIN to one of their parents until the child is 16 years.
He, however, disclosed that the commission is underfunded and has only 100 registration centres when it actually needed about 4000.
He thanked the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, for recognising that the digital economy would not flourish without a smartphone, a virtual account, Broadband infrastructure and digital identity as its foundation.