National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has announced Tuesday that it has suspended printing of National Identity Cards citing budget and economic reasons.
Director General of NIMC, Engr Aliyu A. Azeez said this at the ongoing 27th National Conference at International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Oyo State.
According to him, for those who have registered and have not received their Cards, their individual number is their identities.
“Your number is your actual identity. It is similar to those in US and that of UK social security number and it is your personal security number you can present anywhere,” he added.
He also revealed that so far the Commission has registered a total of 31 million persons and that the agency has over 169 million Nigerians to add its database.
The DG lamented that Nigeria is the only country that cannot fully account for its citizens in the whole world and this limitation is a barrier to resource allocation and digital inclusion benefits.
“Nigeria is the only nation that does not know its citizens. All nations around us know their citizens. This is especially important now that there is issues of terrorism, limited resources as Nigeria needs to plan and allocate it wisely,” he said.
Speakng on benefits of digital inclusion, he said benefits of digital befits evades Nigeria as country because the nation cannot take internet to its people nationwide.
He explained that Nigeria’s “inability to prove identity is the biggest barriers to digital inclusion benefits,” addding, Digital Inclusion is ensuring Internet access to most people in a country notwithstanding age, economic background, and social status, and ensure that every citizens gain access to the power of the web to succeed.
NIMC offers Nigerians digital identification to establish national identity based and harmonise and intergrate all other existing databases in the country.
Nigeria needs true identity of its citizens to ensure quality of life, ensure who gets what and under what circumstances. We need to create incentives for technology, and as a nation, we also need have a rethink of our national curriculum.
And most importantly, we need to accept the new reality tha ICT is here and make sincere effort to digitally include the citizens.
Recalled, last year the commission said 2 million cards issued so far and that there Card has 19 security features some visible others not and has registers 18.5 million or 10% of estimated 185 million Nigerians among a population growing by 7 million annually.
It is the duty of every citizen to enrol and obtain his or her National Identification Number, which entitles one to be fully regarded as a Nigerian citizen,” he stated, adding “without the NIMC anyone’s claims of being a Nigerian citizen are doubtful; that is what the NIMC Act is stipulates.
NIMC was established by the NIMC Act No. 23 of 2007, as an offshoot of the Department of National Civic Registration (DNCR), to create, establish and maintain a Unique National Identity Database, register persons covered by the Act, assign a Unique National Identification Number (NIN), provide authentication platform for identity verification, issue General Multi-Purpose Cards (GMPC) and harmonise and integrate existing identification databases in Nigeria.
Reeling out the many benefits of the NIN, Aziz said these include “one person one identity, enhances participation in the political process, important tool for fight against corruption and terrorism, enables citizens to exercise their rights and facilitates management of subsidies and safety net payments such as apply to Internal Displaced Persons.”
Other benefits of the NIN are that it facilitates service delivery in ministries, departments and agencies, enhances the work of law enforcement agencies thereby providing public safety, policing, national security and border protection, helps launder Nigeria’s image, elimination of ghost and multiple identities and enhances ability of citizens to assert their identity.
The “NIN also enhances access to credit from financial institutions, protects citizens from identity theft thereby being an antidote to identity theft driven frauds, it expands access to other financial services including insurance, it enhances e-commerce by providing a means of payment, it is a tool for non-repudiation and security for financial transactions and it facilitates financial inclusion and hence cashless economy,” he stated.
Referring to the media as “partners in progress” with NIMC, Engr. Aziz said by providing timely, concise and clear messages about NIN to the public the media would be helping the country to achieve Federal Government’s goal of having a reliable, accessible and verifiable database of citizens as obtainable in the civilised world.
The NIMC Director-General, who was appointed in November 2015, chronicled his sojourn in NIMC from 2007, as part of the founding staff of the commission, to his appointment as DG/CEO having served and retired from the Commission.
Engr. Aziz went on to list some of the key achievements of the Commission to include the populating of the National Identity Database, which currently boasts of about 18.5 million records, the establishment of up to 809 NIN enrolment centres nationwide, launch of the new electronic National ID Card with multiple functions, achievement of GVCP Certification and recertification of the NIMC Card Personalisation Bureau in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, Backend Infrastructures like the ABIS, NIDB Storage, Security Network, Datacentre, DR Sites and the ISO 27001: 2013 Certification and Re-certification as well as the commencement of the enrolment of minors (children of ages 0 – 16).
In listing the key challenges the commission faces in the execution of its mandate and targets, the Director General named funding as the overriding hindrance. He also lamented poor staff remuneration, which leads to constant loss of strategic human resources.