THE Federal Government has declared its determination to provide a lifelong unique identification for every individual physically residing in Nigeria and Nigerians in the diaspora within the next five years.
The Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr Aliyu Aziz, made the declaration while speaking at the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Identity for Africa (ID4Africa) Movement, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, recently.
Addressing the over 1,500 delegates at the world’s largest identity for development gathering, Aziz stated that for Nigeria to enhance governance, help its people rise out of poverty, restore growth and participate in the digital economy, “we need a unique digital identification platform that is linked to functional ID registries for accessing services.”
In realisation of the demands to function in the digital economy for sustainable growth therefore, he told the audience that Nigeria is executing a digital identity ecosystem project endorsed in September 2018 by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Laying bare the grand plan by the government in his paper entitled, ‘Digital Identity the Cornerstone to Effective Service Delivery’, Aziz revealed that the “Strategic Roadmap Vision is to reach universal coverage of robust digital identification in Nigeria” by applying an ecosystem approach of enrolling citizens of all ages and legal residents within the set timeframe.
“The ecosystem approach of enrollment will constitute trusted partners, and a pay-per-play model for successful enrolments,” he said, adding that “the purpose of the ecosystem approach is to leverage existing capabilities and enrolment facilities of government agencies, partners and private sector operators in Nigeria, as opposed to building new ones.”
Explaining further, he said the ecosystem approach leverages the capacity of “all ID stakeholders in the ecosystem to reach full coverage of the target population.”
He listed some unique and beneficial features of the digital ID ecosystem approach to include, among others: Federal Government-led initiative to collect bio-metric data nationwide in one go; coordinated effort to avoid duplicating data collection at high cost and time; leverage existing ecosystem of Government agencies (including Federal, State and LGAs) and Private sector organisations.
Others are that NIMC facilitates collecting identity data (bio-metric and demographic data) and partners collect data and are paid per successful enrolment, while it stores data and uses same to offer a Unique ID.
He named some of the stakeholders and partners in the ecosystem approach to include the National Population Commission, Nigeria Immigration Service, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Central Bank of Nigeria, National Health Insurance Scheme, National Independent Electoral Commission and the Federal Road Safety Commission.
Others include the Corporate Affairs Commission, Nigerian Communications Commission, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, the Nigeria Police Force and the National Pension Commission.
He said on January 1, 2019 government began the mandatory enforcement of the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) for such services like application for and issuance of passport, registration of voters, opening of bank accounts, all consumer credit transactions, purchase of insurance policies, transactions with social security implications, all land related transactions, transactions specified under the contributory health insurance scheme, payment of taxes, transactions pertaining to pension, admission into schools among others.