The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), says the ongoing National Identity Number (NIN) enrolment programme taking place in over 15, 000 centres across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, has so far captured 89 million Nigerians in its database.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports that this figure represents a 218 per cent increase from the 28 million persons it registered in 2018 and only 41 per cent of Nigeria’s estimated 215 million population.
At a Press Conference to mark the 4th National Identity Day celebration in Abuja on Friday, the Director General of NIMC Aliyu Aziz, noted that the Commission has now hit an average of two million registration monthly through strategic partnerships with traditional instructions and awareness creation.
As of today, scores of government programmes including workers’ registration under the Contributory Pension Scheme, application for and ownership of a driver’s licence, opening and operating a bank account, accessing health insurance, filing tax returns, registering for and writing the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) exams, voting during the elections and making phone calls cannot be done without a valid NIN.
“Today we have enrolled 89million people for the National Identify Number, NIN). When I became the DG we enrolled over 7million but you can see than we have enrolled additional 82 million We have been growing the data as every month we enroll two million people.
“The 89 million are the mainstream people so there are still remaining the local people in village, Petty traders, market poeple and artisan in rural areas across the country who are yet to be enrolled,” Aziz said.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami, who supervises NIMC, also stressed during the conference that “we can only get our digital economy right when we continue to improve and encourage our citizens to enrol in our national database”.
It would be recalled that the Commission was established in 2007 but commenced enrolment of citizens for the National Identification Number (NIN) in 2012. Previous National ID Card programs in Nigeria were card-based but the current focus of the Commission is issuing number-based digital IDs which can be syncronised to a person’s records wherever they are.
The NIN is an advanced number-based identity management system consisting of 11 unintelligent digits generated after a successful enrollment and it is unique as no two people have the same number. If a NIN holder dies that unique number is rested permanently.
However, Nigerians have constantly lamented that the National e-ID Card component of the National Identity Management System (NIMS) which was launched in September of 2014, has been very slow.
An enrollee Emmanuella Harrison, complained that she was yet to collect her ID Card more than five years after registration, even though she was given her NIN through a temporary slip that was issued to her upon successful registration.
“They gave me a slip more than five years and up till now, I don’t have a card. Sometimes, I want to do something maybe at the bank and they will ask for ID card or passport and I don’t have them. It can be both embarrassing and frustrating,” she lamented.
Another enrollee Victor Asemota, complained that his passport renewal process has been stalled as a delay of delays from NIMC.
Asemota explained: “I’ve been trying to renew my passport since May but some days ago, my contact at the immigration office said that the process cannot continue for now because my NIN has not ‘dropped’ and that if I know somebody at NIMC of pay N5, 000, it can be fast-tracked”.
It was gathered that the NIN portal has been down for weeks, making it difficult for the Nigerian Immigration Service to carry out verification of applicants, as part of processing requirements. The NIMC website is also currently down.
The Commission has blamed the delay in issuance of ID cards on insufficient funding, stressing it can only meet its funds-based objectives when sufficient budgetary allocations are provided.
In 2020, the federal government secured a World Bank credit facility of $430 million for the NIMC under the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development (DI4D). The project targets to enroll 148 million Nigerians, including 65 million women and girls, as well as 50 million children under the age of 16 by June 1, 2024.
According to the NIMC Act, the registration and procurement of a National Identity Card are compulsory for all registrable persons in Nigeria. Registration is also free and has no age restrictions.