Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
Nigeria quests for identification of its citizens hits a rock as the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) on Tuesday said it has suspended printing and issuance of National Identity Cards till 2021.
The Director General,Engineer Aliyu Aziz, NIMC in a keynote address at the 27th National Conference of the Nigerian Computer Society, (NCS) at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Oyo State Capital with the theme, ‘Digital Inclusion: Opportunities, Challenges and Strategies’, cited low funding and economic reasons for suspending the printing and issuance of the national ID cards.
According to him, economic recession affected finance availability of the commission on immediate execution of the project.
He said Nigerians should expect improved issuance of the card in the next three year.
Aziz disclosed that for those who have registered and have not received their Cards, their National Identity Number (NIN) remain their identities.
The NIMC DG said, “Now considering the recession, we focused on issuing the digital identity card, which is the National Identity Number (NIN).”
He said Nigeria is the only nation that does not know its citizens.
Aziz noted that, “All nations around us know their citizens. This is especially important now that there is issues of terrorism, limited resources as Nigeria needs to plan and allocate it wisely.”
He said Nigeria’s inability to provide identity of its citizens is the biggest barriers to digital inclusion benefits.
He lamented poor deployment of broadband into the hinterlands which is limiting the Commission’s drive to enroll every Nigerian irrespective of their location.
The NIMC’s DG informed that digital inclusion is ensuring internet access to most people in a country notwithstanding age, economic background, and social status, and ensure that every citizens gain access to the power of the web to succeed.
However, he said NIMC offers Nigerians digital identification to establish national identity based and harmonize and integrate all other existing databases in the country.
According to him, NIMC has put in place processes of harmonisation of data gathered from Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in line with the Federal Government’s directive.
He said the commission has so far received about 15million documents from MDAs for harmonization.
Aziz said, “Nigeria needs true identity of its citizens to ensure quality of life, ensure who gets what and under what circumstances. We need to create incentives for technology, and as a nation, we also need have a rethink of our national curriculum.