The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) established by the NIMC Act No. 23 of 2007, has the mandate to establish, own, operate, maintain and manage the National Identity Database in Nigeria, register persons covered by the Act, assign a Unique National Identification Number (NIN) and issue General Multi-Purpose Cards (GMPC) to those who are citizens of Nigeria as well as others legally residing within the country.
The NIMC Act 2007 provides for the establishment of the NIMC, its functions, powers, establishment of the National Identity Database, assignment and use of General Multi-purpose cards, and the National Identification Number (NIN). The Act also provides the Commission with powers to make regulations connected with its functions. The NIMC Act 2007 provides the repeal of the law that created the former Department of National Civic Registration (DNCR) and the transfer of its assets and liabilities to the NIMC.
Recently, the federal government approved the recognition and observance of September 16 of every year as National Identity Day. It was the responsibility of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to proceed with educational and awareness campaigns on the proposed identity day to other public and private sector stakeholders including institutions.
By the President’s approval Nigeria has become the first country in the world to formally adopt September 16, otherwise called 16.9, as Identity Day (ID-Day).
National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has enrolled 42 million Nigerians into the national identity database. The NIMC said it was able to harmonize 14 million data from other government agencies through its data harmonisation process.
Speaking recently during the 2nd edition of the annual event to commemorate National Identity Day with the theme: “Identity for Health, Sustainable Development and Growth” director-general of NIMC, Engr, Aliyu Aziz, said the commission required additional four thousand (4,000) enrollment centres to effectively speed up the enrollment process.
He said that the commission currently has 1,000 enrollment centres which according to him was not enough to cover the population of the country.
“It is important to mention that the Federal Government of Nigeria is committed to the advancement and immediate acceleration of the identification development programme of our country.
“With the visionary leadership of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, Nigeria has been positioned to take giant steps in providing unique identity to all through collaboration with government institutions and viable partnership with the private sectors.
“In a similar manner, our nation’s ID goals can be fully realized when we leverage the adoption and use of digital identity to improve governance, enhance social accountability, promote security and provide basic services to the people. Our major concern and focus now is the NIN because the card is for convenience,” he said.
He explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the need for Nigeria as a nation to rethink on our long term actions, chart new pathway, prioritize our national projects, build resilience, explore emerging trends and capitalize on the opportunities inherent in a unified ID system as a way to reposition our country, recover from the socio-economic challenges faced and confront the pre-existing trends and new ways of life and governance.
He said that the idea behind the introduction of digital Identity Ecosystem was to enable government have easy access to accurate data of citizens for the provision of social services.
The National Identification Number (NIN) consists of 11 non-intelligible numbers randomly chosen and assigned to an individual at the completion of enrolment into the National Identity Database (NIDB). Once a NIN is assigned to an individual, it can never be reassigned, given or used by another person. The NIN is used to tie all records about an individual in the database and is also used to establish or verify his/her identity. All citizens and legal residents in Nigeria, from age zero (birth) and above are eligible to enroll for their NINs.
Is on this record that NIMC boss further urged Nigerians who are yet to enroll and obtain their National Identification Number (NIN), to do so as soon as possible.
Also in March 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the constitution and composition of the Legal & Regulatory Reform Working as part of the institutional arrangement for the implementation of the Digital Identity Ecosystem project.
The Reform Working Group consists of the representatives from the following MDAs; Federal Ministry of Justice (FMoJ) -Chairman, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, National Population Commission (NPC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Office of the National Security Adviser and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) – Member/Secretary.
The legal reforms required under the Ecosystem project are necessary to promote trust in the ID system particularly with regard to the protection of privacy on personal data.
The Working Group which will report to the Project Steering Committee is responsible for implementing the activities under Component 1 of the Ecosystem Project as detailed in the Project Appraisal Document (PAD). Since its inauguration, the working group has been working on harmonizing the review comments from the various member agencies and this process has culminated in the harmonized version of the Data Protection Bill which were recently adopted and validated.
Giving the overview of the process of review of Data Protection Bill (DPB 2020) and presentation recently by the General Manager, Legal Regulatory & Compliance Services Department of NIMC, Hadiza Dagabana who was represented by Mrs Gladys Odegbaro, noted that to strengthen the legal, regulatory and institutional framework for identity in Nigeria would promote inclusion and non-discrimination for the project to achieve universe coverage in the area of data collection.
She said, “Crucial to the reform process is the issues of privacy rights and data protection. The Working Group is to work towards harmonizing the edited legislative draft, Data Protection Bill, with a view to finalizing the Bill, for expedited legal action and passage into law.
“Another critical element of the legal reform process is the amendment of the NIMC Act to ensure that it is fully in line with the strategy laid out by the Government of Nigeria in the Roadmap, and that the new registration process financed under the Project is fully lawful, inclusive, and non-discriminatory.”
The remaining reforms include amendment of other existing legislations and regulations relating to person identification and data collection in other MDAs legislations and harmonizing them with the ecosystem policy of the federal government. The project will also finance technical assistance, institutional reform and capacity building towards the establishment of key institutions, such as the Data Protection Authority, that are required to develop and enforce the newly developed or updated legal and regulatory frameworks.