Poor funding cripples national ID card registration, NIMC targets 28 million by year end
By Theresa Igata
Director General of the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, has advised that every Nigerian should as a matter of necessity obtain the National Identity Number, NIN, being issued by the Commission which fully confers on any citizen so enrolled, Nigerian citizenship or run the risk of not being regarded as a citizen of the country, even as the commission seeks a target to register 28 million Nigerians into the National Identification Number (NIN) system by the end of 2017. The DG blamed the low volume of national ID registration on poor funding of NIMC and apathy among Nigerians.
Aziz who was in Lagos said: “It is the duty of every citizen to enrol and obtain his or her National Identification Number, NIN. Without the NIN, any one’s claims of being a citizen are doubtful, that is what the NIMC Act stipulates.
“The commission embarked on an enrolment strategy in 2012 which has grown exponentially since 2015. Now we have reached 18.5 million and the focus which is our goal is that by 2017 ending, the commission would have reached 28 million people. The main aim of the registration is to have a single identification,” he said.
This has become necessary according to the DG as it will answer the question of ‘who you are’ by providing a single version of truth or unique identity for every citizen (identity insurance) and foster the orderly development of an identity sector in Nigeria.
Though just about 1.2 million national e-ID cards have been produced and being issued due to the current economic challenge, poor funding and inadequate staff remuneration had led to constant loss of strategic human resources, even as the commission will commence the enrolment of minors (Ages 0-16).
And with 809 NIN enrolment centres across the 36 states of the federation, the commission he said, also needed to tackle some other challenges with regard to very poor data capture, absence of a central ID repository, up-scaling deficiency, legal framework peculiarity and the challenge of political will amongst others.
He listed the many benefits of the NIN to include one person one identity, enhanced participation in the political process and its value as an important tool to fight corruption and terrorism. NIN would enable citizens to exercise their rights and facilitate management of subsidies and safety net payments as applicable to internally displaced persons, adding that the next step for the commission would be the achievement of the presidential directive on harmonisation and consolidation of biometric data into the national identity database and hence the commission would soon commence the enforcement of the mandatory use of NIN and issue directives to banks to accept NIN as a valid means of identification.
The DG however called on the media as partners in progress to provide timely, concise and clear messages about NIN to the public which will help the country achieve FG’s goal of having a reliable, accessible and verifiable database of citizens as obtained in developed nations.