President Mohammadu Buhari has directed all government data and biometrics collating agencies to harmonise their data collation before the end of his second term in 2023.
He gave the directive, Thursday in Abuja, at the third National Identity Day celebration, with the theme “Identity, a Tool for Sustainable Digital Economy and National Security.”
The president who was represented by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami was quoted as saying: “I have instructed the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Prof. Ibrahim Pantami and and all other government agencies that collate data and biometrics to harmonise all the data they have collected, so that Nigeria can have a central data base before the end of my tenure.
“With the right database in place, it will guide government to plan and take take critical decisions on education, health agriculture and data also will guide government to come up with effective national policies with the issue women, children and unemployment.
“As a country, we seek to use efficient ways to deploy national identity trust systems not only to deliver government services in areas such as social welfare, taxes, voting, health administration, security, and education but also to build an indigenous digital economy that will stimulate the private sector and make it thrive.”
“With an efficient, secure, accessible, and reliable National Identity Infrastructure we can empower Nigerians to exercise their rights and responsibilities fairly and equitably, thereby driving social inclusion. Hence, the unprecedented approval of N25 billion by the Federal Executive Council for upgrade and replacement of the NIMC Identity Infrastructure.”
He also spoke on the importance of celebrating the national Identity, saying that at the heart of the celebration was the need to raise awareness and sensitise the citizenry about the pivotal role of digital identification in Nigeria.
He noted that government’s 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.
According to Buhari, subscribers can link their phone lines with their National Identity Number (NIN) through the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) App without physically going to any telecoms provider.
“As part of our efforts to make it easy for citizens to link their NIN to their phone numbers, we developed a mobile app that allows users to do so without having to physically visit any telecom company. It also enables users to download the improved NIN slips and use mobile IDs as a valid and secure means of identification.”
Buhari reiterated his call for all stakeholders to collaborate and provide Nigeria with a single database.
He urge all functional data-providing agencies of government, as well as all government institutions offering services to harness resources, harmonize and align their operations with NIMC.
The Acting Chairman Governing Board of the NIMC, Bello Ibrahim, in his welcome address stated that no country can thrive in this 21st century without a functional and reliable national identification system. And that with this government can plan for national development.
He said: “No country can thrive in this 21st century without a functional and reliable system of national identification.
“Without this, government won’t be able to effectively deliver public services to citizens and private institutions would struggle to serve their customers seamlessly.”
He also spoke on the importance of a genuine and reliable national identification system to e-commerce.
Accordinv to him, in the absence of a robust authentication platform, people won’t feel comfortable accessing online portals or tools, thereby eroding every effort at economic inclusion.
The Director General, NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, said the commission has over 8,000 enrollment centres across the country.