President Goodluck Jonathan has directed the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure that by December 31st 2014 all eligible Nigerians are registered in the National Identity Database.
The President also directed that by the same date all 14 government agencies requiring identity verification and authentication services or those involved in data capture activities must also align their activities with a view to switching over to the NIMC infrastructure.
The President stated this at the Formal Launch of the Enrolment Exercise for the Issuance of the National Identification Number (NIN) at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.
The launch which featured a generation of a National Identity Number for the President ended with the slogan – ‘ENROL ONCE AND BE IDENTIFIED FOR LIFE’.
President Jonathan noting the need for harmonization of database of different agencies of government, said that the cost of operating multiple discordant databases and infrastructure in the country is unsustainable.
“Government cannot afford the continued proliferation of data capture activities. The proliferation does not grant any advantage in efficiency neither does it make good economic sense.
“The growing identity verification needs, therefore calls for harmonization and integration of identity databases and the development of a universal service infrastructure,” he said.
The President noted that Nigeria cannot be an exception to the global trend towards Identity Management and Centralised National Identity Database.
“Already, there is a growing quest for specific databases and identity verification by several government institutions and private sector organizations in our country.”
He further noted that: “If the work of law enforcement officers must be enhanced; if consumer credit is to be accessible; if we are to reduce the cost of managing the naira cash component currently estimated at N192bn per annum; if we are to reduce the amount of currency in circulation currently put at N1.93tn; if we are to achieve a multiple pronged approach to the fight against corruption; and finally, if we are to introduce social security or welfare payments, then we must, first and foremost, establish and verify appropriately, the identities of individuals.”
The President stated that while government remains committed to the accelerated development of the National Identity Management System (NIMS), the private sector must also rise up to its role.
“Corporate operators must seize the unique opportunities provided by the Concession Agreement, to make investments in the scheme,” he said adding that the participation of the private sector participation would mean an “extended optimization of resources typically devoted to addressing issues of PROOF OF IDENTITY across the nation. It would also mean seamless integration and use of a common facility for identity verification and authentication, in both the public and private sectors”.
He also directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy to ensure that the objective of the project which is aimed at streamlining biometrically-linked databases and optimizing scarce resources, are accomplished on record time.
Speaking at the launch the DG of the NIMC, Chris Onyemenam noted that the main identification is the NIN generated upon registration and is not transferable.
He added that the issued Identity Card has multiple uses and can be used for financial operations linked to MasterCard, Verve and Visa.
He noted that the new identification system will help to eliminate identity related fraud, and all forms of deception adding that by December 31st 2013, they would have mobilized for registration to strategic places like military formations, university campuses etc to fast track the enrolment process.
The Minister of Interior Abba Moro, who spoke to journalists after the launch, noted that what the identity management commission will do is to coordinate and manage the entirety of all identification arrangement in the county.
“It is just like the back galaxy, if you want to establish any digital arrangement certainly you must key in and align with the back bone galaxy,” he said.