The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has urged Nigerians to focus more on getting the National Identity Number (NIN) rather than clamoring for the physical Identity card, stressing that the NIN is a digital means of identification which will help to foster economic digitization.
The Director General of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu Aziz made this known as he hosted journalists in Abuja on Wednesday to mark the National Identity Day celebrated on the 16th of September in Nigeria and celebrated by the United Nations as World International Identity Day.
The DG said: “Right now, around 42 million Nigerians have the NIN and that means that they are uniquely Identified. Identification in the 21st century has to be a digital Identification, therefore it is the number that is most important not the card. In the United States, it’s the Social Security Number not a national identity card. It’s the number that must be emphasized.
“We are working with various agencies of government to synergize this digital identification. The Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Communications Commission, and many others are agencies we are working with to synergize the digital identification process.”
He also went on to stress that the major challenge the agency is facing is the population and population growth rate of the country. He said: “the major challenge is our large population for example last year we registered 7 million Nigerians. If we were in a country like Israel, we would have been done because that’s the population of the whole of Israel. That is why we have come out with a sustainable ecosystem to make sure that all the agencies and sectors we are partnering with shojld be able to issue the NIN.”
The DG went on to disclose that the agency will over the next three months go out to register internally displaced persons (IDPs), noting that when IDPs have the NIN, it will enable them easily access social services. He said through the NIN, organizations who want to distribute palliatives to IDPs can easily reach them directly without any intermediary.
Engr Aziz went on thank the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy for his leadership in fostering a digital economy. He said: “Leveraging a digital identification system for continuous data and reliable statistics under the new world order is crucial for our survival and growth as a nation in this era of digital inclusion and digital economy.
“In this note, I would like to thank our new Supervisor and Champion of Digital Economy, the Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, who mentioned that for the digital economy to flourish, four things are needed: a smartphone, a virtual account, Broadband infrastructure and digital Identity as the Foundation.”