President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) other agencies and stakeholders in identity management to intensify efforts to achieve a complete and sustainable national database for Nigeria to help in policy formulation for the country.
The President gave the task while delivering his address during events to commemorate the 3rd National Identity Day 2021, organised by NIMC, which held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.
Describing the theme of the event “Identity, a Tool for Sustainable Digital Economy and National Security,” as apt, the President, who was represented by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ibrahim Pantami, noted that the enrolment of National Identification Number (NIN), which is being undertaken by NIMC was key to addressing most of the nation’s problems.
He stressed that digital identity would make for easy planning and would assist in critical decision making in sectors such as health, education, agriculture, women and youth development and as well in tackling unemployment.
“NIMC and the National Population Commission (NPC) must join hands to establish a complete database,” he said, adding that “digital identity is prerequisite to success of the national economy and getting the national security right.”
NIMC has in the last couple of months captured over 63 million Nigerians in the National Identity Database (NIDB) in the ongoing integration process of NIN and Subscriber Identification Module (SIM). This got a boost on September 2, 2021, when the commission received N25 billion approved by President Buhari for improved condition of service, salary upgrade as well a upgrade and replacement of the NIMC Identity Infrastructure.
The President on Thursday also launched NIMC’s New Identity Solution Products namely; NIMC MobileID App, Tokenization and Contactless Enrolment Solution and presented plagues to Front-End Partners (FEPs).
Pantami in his speech delivered by the Permanent Secretary in the Communication Ministry, Bitrus Nabasu Bako, noted that the event was to raise awareness and sensitise the citizenry about the pivotal role of digital identification in Nigeria.
“Our enthusiasm to build a local digital economy, curb widespread economic and social exclusion is hinged on the necessity to assign every Nigerian and legal resident with a unique identity,” he said.
The Director General/Chief Executive Officer of NIMC, Aliyu Abubakar Aziz, in his progress report of the commission said with the support of President Buhari and the Minister, the commission has made tremendous achievements.
He added that without proper identity, people are excluded from basic services that provide foundation for support.
“A nation cannot truly be a sovereign state if it does not know its people or have a unique way to identify them. Government’s knowledge of its people (citizens and residents) is fundamental to planning, governance, fiscal management, accountability, security, etc.
“Establishing a foundational ID is the first step to empowering people & facilitating access to basic government services, civil registration & vital statistics system and the National Identity Management System have been designated as the foundational IDs in Nigeria,” Aziz stated.