By Prince Okafor
Fresh indications have emerged that only 11 per cent of the nation’s population has a national identification given by Nigeria Identity Management Commission, NIMC.
This was revealed by the Chief Executive of Officer, CEO, VerifyMe, Mr. Esigie Agele, during the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning Pre-#NES26 event with the theme “Digital Identity as a foundation for Digital Economy and achieving the SDGs”.
Agele stated that only about 11 per cent of Nigerians have a national id given by NIMC and that a lot of Nigerians carry multiple forms of ID as opposed to having a Single identifiable ID.
“It is essential for Nigeria to have a trusted identification system to bolster socio-economic growth. The government must look at digital ID from a foundational and functional identity data component perspective to address its suitability for national security, social and financial inclusion.”
Vanguard gathered that the event which is among a series of pre- 26th Nigerian Economic Summit events will help to shape strategic partnerships to chart a path to recovery, and build resilience for the country’s economy, businesses and households by delivering conversations that will put Nigeria in a strong position within the changing world order.
According to the Director, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) Board and Co-founder/Executive Director Kainos Edge Consulting Mrs. Wonu Adetayo, the implementation of a unified identification system cannot be over-emphasised as this will provide the country the opportunity to take optimum advantage of a vibrant digital ecosystem that is obtainable in highly innovative nations across the globe.
She stated that the NESG applauds the Strategic Implementation Roadmap for Digital ID which recognises the need to leverage Public-Private-Partnerships to scale the enrolment process to reach at least 150 Million Nigerians in 3-5 years.
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Mr. Chubham Chaudury, Nigeria country director World Bank while delivering his remarks mentioned that there is a need to use an ecosystem approach that coordinates enrollment partners in the private sector, civil society and government and that enrollment partnerships will help to accelerate enrollment systems, legal frameworks and a strong robust authentic management system that can help to boost any Nigeria’s digital economy.
The Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs Office David Adejo Andrew who represented the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha said that partnerships across board will help to stimulate the economy and better identification systems will help to improve transparency, reduce waste and address a number of developmental challenges.
The director general of Nigeria Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Aziz revealed that the NIMC aims to register everyone in Nigeria and issue them with a unique identity. “We need 3 – 5 years for full registration of citizens and we will be focusing on our core regulatory functions as well as some form of verification. We are collaborating with INEC and NOA to ensure voter validation happens with the NIN. The NIMC act aims at reinforcing data protection and privacy laws, mandatory use of National Identity Number (NIN) by Telecommunication companies, ensuring the NIN is a unique identifier for public servants and an upgrade of the automated biometric identification system ABIS.
The country director of DAI and member of the Governance and Institutions Policy Commission of the NESG, Dr. Joe Abah said that revision of the NIMC act will bring on board private sector and civil society representatives to help strengthen the agency. “NIMC was grossly underfunded between 2008 and 2016 with a release rate of 53 per cent. The NIMC Director-general has alluded to the issues of staffing and remuneration. There is a financial problem, personnel problem and policy with a plethora of organisations involved with identification without much coordination.” Dr. Abah said.
While answering questions during the panel session, MD/CEO SecureID Mrs. Kofo Akinkugbe said that a good digital identity system can help can in the fight against corruption and terrorism and there is a need to identify citizens digitally to foster economic development. She revealed that to ramp up digital identity, the government and private sector must collaborate on enrollment and in the event of having a digital certificate such as International Passports and Drivers’ license, 3rd party services should be used.
The co-founder/CEO of Smile Identity, Mr. Mark Straub said it was essential to follow a public-private model that invests in the system through government investment in data integrity, licensing enumerators and enhancing verifiable claims.
The 26th Nigerian Economic Summit will be the highpoint of a ‘Big Conversation for Action’ driven by pre-Summit events. These virtual events will kickstart discussions on this year’s Summit Theme and will enable us convene a wider range of stakeholders to deliberate on a broad set of thematic and sectoral issues with key outcomes.