The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has increased its enrollment figure from 7 million in 2015 to 36 million in 2019.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, made the announcement in Abuja at the maiden National Identity Day tagged, ‘Assured Digital Identity for All.’
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the OSGF, Gabriel Tenimu Aduda, Mustapha described the improvement in the enrollment figures as “highly commendable”.
Mustapha said the issue of identity cannot be taken lightly adding that since the world has now gone digital, Nigeria cannot be allowed to lag behind.
The SGF said that the participation of his office showed unwavering commitment to developing a robust identity management system that would quicken the pace of e-governance across the country.
“It is also a measure of confidence that the OSGF has approved for the commission to operate and regulate matters of National Identity in Nigeria with service covering but not limited to national identity number (NIN) enrolment, national e-ID card issuance, identity verification as well as data harmonisation and integration.”
“If we’re able to effectively manage identity or national identity, it will be important in the area of population management or managing jobs and security,” he said.
He urged NIMC to collaborate with state and local governments to cover Nigeria more effectively; adding that by so doing it will help government in dealing with some of the very naughty issues, like catching ghost workers, that have defied solutions.
The Minister of State for Science and Technology, Barrister Muhammad Hassan Abdullahi, urged the commission to move beyond photo and biometric data capture and support security agencies to track criminals and bust their networks.
The minister who unveiled the emblem and logo of the celebration in a colourful manner, said the commission can do this by instituting a one-stop shop in forensic analysis of data. This, he said, can interface with Nigerian Biotechnology Agency to develop DNA replication and encoding Laboratories to support security agencies in detection and arrest of criminals in the country.
In his remarks, the director general of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu Aziz, said over 4,000 workers are in the field capturing data of citizens into the national identity number database.
He explained that the 37 million enrollment figure includes the people who have passport, bank accounts and driver’s licences.
The acting board chairman of NIMC, Malam Bello Gwandu, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his support and visionary leadership in advancing and improving the identity development project of the country.
Highlights of the event were the display of a short video that showed the history and evolution of the commission and a short play titled: “My Identity My Pride” staged some staff members of the commission.
It would be recalled that the Commission had on September 6 announced the approval of the federal government of September 16 as National Identity Day, with effect from this year.
The Commission had revealed that the Day, was to create awareness on the importance of identification as a modern tool for national development and social cohesion.
By the approval, Nigeria became the first country in the world to formally adopt September 16, otherwise called 16.9, as Identity Day (ID-Day).
The commission had explained further that the choice of the date, September 16, was in recognition of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.9 which calls for a legal identity for all including birth registration by 2030.