The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has hinted that lack of funding due the ongoing recession has been a major challenge delaying the issuance of the new National e-Identity Cards to Nigerians.
Speaking at his debut interactive media session in Lagos, recently, The Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Aziz, said since commencement of the exercise in 2012 a total of 18.5 million enrolments and registrations have been done but the Commission has only been able to issue 1.2 million cards because of the current economic recession in the nation.
Engr. Aziz, also used the opportunity to clarify the misconception held in some sections of the society that NIMC’s primary role was merely the production and issuance of National Identity Cards to citizens.
Engr. Aziz spoke against the backdrop of the Federal Government’s renewed efforts, spearheaded by NIMC, to enlighten Nigerians on the importance of enrolling to obtain the NIN, which fully confers on any citizen so enrolled Nigerian citizenship.
“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 NIN anyone’s claims of being a Nigerian citizen are doubtful; that is what the NIMC Act stipulates.”
NIN is a unique 11-digit number assigned to an individual upon successful enrollment into the national identity database (NIDB).
While emphasizing the fact that getting the NIN was more important than the e-ID Cards, the NIMC boss hinted that Lack of funds tied to recession is currently slowing the production and issuance of the cards to those already registered.
He noted that any Nigerian without the National Identification Number (NIN) issued by the commission runs the risk of being regarded as a non-Nigerian citizen.
Reeling out the many benefits of the NIN, Engr. 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.
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).
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 harmonize and integrate existing identification databases in Nigeria