Stakeholders Fret over Bank’s Involvement in New National ID Card

Emma Okonji

Following the recent explanation by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) that the proposed new national identity card will be issued through the applicants’ respective banks in line with existing protocols with the issuance of the debit/credit cards, industry stakeholders have raised concern over bank’s involvement in national identity card and the security of the card.

The federal government, through NIMC and in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS), recently launched a new identity card with payment functionality for all types of social and financial services to be powered by AfriGO, a National domestic card scheme.

NIMC, last week, gave further explanation about the proposed new national identity card.
Head, Corporate Communications at NIMC, Mr. Kayode Adegoke, explained that the applicants for the card would have to request with their NIN through the self-service online portal, NIMC offices, or their respective banks.

He also explained that the card would be issued through the applicants’ respective banks in line with existing protocols with the issuance of the debit/credit cards. 

According to Adegoke, “The new National ID Card is a single, convenient, and General Multipurpose Card (GMPC) , eliminating the need for multiple cards—not three. The single GMPC has multiple use cases:  Payments/financial, government intervention/services, travel etc.” 

Worried about the involvement of banks in the issuance of national identity card, the President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo has questioned the rationale for a new national identity card, when there is an existing one that is still operational.

According to Ogubanjo, the General Multipurpose Card (GMPC) is enshrined in NIMC’s Act No. 23 of 2007, which empowers NIMC to establish, own, operate, maintain and manage the National Identity Database in Nigeria, register persons covered by the Act, assign a Unique National Identification Number (NIN) and issue General Multi-Purpose Cards, insisting that GMPC is not new as presented by NIMC.

“Since 2021, NIMC has issued the first MobileID in Africa to over 15 million persons. Verification is instant and the previous administration made it possible for anyone to verify the identity of another person whilst maintaining data privacy. With the new proposed ID card, how will they integrate with the existing MobileID for instant verification of the new documents, and how will NIMC prevent unlawful people from making copies of their ID card without their knowledge?” Ogunbanjo asked.

Other stakeholders who spoke to THISDAY are asking who takes responsibility for card blocking, replacement and delivery, if the national identity card is lost or stolen, since multiple parties are involved, including the banks.

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