Business Hilights
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Nigerians can get unique identity in few years if agencies work together—NIMC DG

The Director-General of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr Aliyu Aziz, has given antidote to the achievement of unique identity statuses for every Nigerian, saying the plan can only work when all relevant agencies of the government decide to work together towards the process.

Speaking at a stakeholder workshop on Strategic Roadmap for Digital Identity Eco-system in Nigeria in Abuja, Aziz noted that collaboration among agencies handling data remains the best bet to actualise the eco-system approach of national identity.

According to him, the digital identity was meant to give every Nigerian a unique identity, boost development and promote security in the country.

“The plan of giving every Nigerian a unique identity within a period of three to five years programme can only happen if we all work together.

“Nigeria is a very special country where people without identity live well and eat three square meals and there has been a lot of issues related to this identity.

“Policies developed must be articulated and refined in such a way that government agencies will work together, share infrastructure and investment to serve their customers who are potentially the same citizens and residents.

“We should give Nigeria a world class identity management, infrastructure, which will boost security and socio-economic transformation,’’ he said.

Business Hilights recalls that NIMC had since last year been campaigning for Nigerians to go to their nearest NIMC office and get their National Identity Number (NIN), a strategic process to being counted and registered as a bona-fide citizen of Nigeria.

Earlier in his keynote address, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, represented by Senior Special Assistant to the President on ICT, Mr Lanre Osibona, said the Federal Government required additional $3.1 billion to achieve digital national identity for all citizens.

Osinbajo hinted that a World Bank research of 2015 showed that Nigeria spent $1.2 billion since the 1970s on the project, saying “The digital identity ecosystem was aimed at having a basic data of all Nigerians, which could be built upon by the functional identity stakeholders”.

“This is over two years of relentless effort to get to where we are today, the issue and challenges to ensuring a successful national identity are many and they must be addressed collectively.

“However, one thing I can assure you of is that funding has never been one of those challenges.

“According to World Bank research in 2015, Nigeria spent 1.2 billion dollars since the late 1970s but much work remains undone.

“We are projected to spend an additional $3.1 billion if we are to follow the existence approach of developing identification in Nigeria.

“The incredible benefit of this programme is at stake and we must get it right this time,’’ Vice president averred.