Digital Identity in Nigeria: Case study conducted as part of a ten-country exploration of socio-digital ID systems in parts of Africa
Source: Research ICT Africa and the Centre for Internet and Society
Okunoye, B. (2021). Digital Identity in Nigeria: Case study conducted as part of a ten-country exploration of socio-digital ID systems in parts of Africa (Towards the Evaluation of Digital ID Ecosystems in Africa: Findings from Ten Countries) [Case study]. Research ICT Africa (RIA).
With the support of international partners such as the World Bank, the French Agency for Development and the European Investment Bank, Nigeria commenced its digital identity programme in 2007 with the passage of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Act. The government had enrolled 56 million people by June 2021, with the stated goals including improving security and harmonising existing databases of government ministries, departments, and agencies towards increasing government efficiency. Nevertheless, as with several other digital identity projects in Africa, the implementation of Nigeria’s digital identity project has revealed gaps relating to the rights of people who enrol for the digital identity, and whose digital identity data the system administers. Considering potential rights infringements perpetuated by digital identity programmes, this case study uses a Digital ID Evaluation Framework to analyse and determine whether Nigeria’s Digital ID programme upholds the rights of enrolees in its implementation. The Evaluation Framework is used to examine digital IDs with rule of law tests, rights-based tests, and risk-based tests before making recommendations for stakeholders.