By Prince Osuagwu
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.
Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Aziz, made the declaration recently while speaking at the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Identity for Africa (ID4Africa) Movement in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Addressing the over 1,500 delegates at the world’s largest identity for the development gathering, Engr. Aziz stated that for Nigeria to enhance governance, help its people rise out of poverty, restore growth and participate in the digital economy, there was a need for a unique digital identification platform that is linked to functional identification registries for accessing services.
In realisation of the demands to function in the digital economy for sustainable growth, Engr. Aziz told the audience that Nigeria is executing a digital identity ecosystem project endorsed in September 2018 by the Federal Executive Council, the highest decision-making organ of government.
Laying bare the grand plan by the government in his paper titled ‘Digital Identity the Cornerstone to Effective Service Delivery’ he 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 enrolment will constitute trusted partners and a pay-per-play model for successful enrolments. 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.” He added.
He said on January 1, 2019 government began the mandatory enforcement of the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) for services like application for and issuance of passport, registration of voters, the 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 and all other relevant government services.
Aziz listed the benefits of the digital identity ecosystem approach as scaling up enrolment, extending coverage nationwide, reducing cost in data collection, speeding-up delivery, providing digital verification of ID anytime and anywhere in Nigeria, just as a well-developed digital identification program will help deliver the government’s development agenda, and provide for key government services, such as safety net, financial inclusion, security, and agriculture.