Inside Nigeria’s 13-year-old quest for widespread digital identification

Published: 21/Jul/2020
Source: TechPoint.Africa (Nigeria)

By Emmanuel Paul

Throughout history, humans have needed means of identification in the course of their daily activities. Over the years, this has evolved from sounds and other bodily signals to physical tokens like passports and ID cards among others.

The coming of the digital age caused a shift to digital identities. The World Bank states that digital identities could improve efficiency and transparency across all sectors for governments and citizens.

In June 2019, the Nigerian Federal Government inaugurated a steering committee to drive the adoption of a unified digital Identity for all Nigerians.

The committee would aim to integrate data held by various government bodies such as the Bank Verification Number (BVN), driver’s licence, international passport, and the National Identity Number (NIN).

In 2018, the Nigerian Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a Strategic Roadmap for Developing Digital Identification in Nigeria. The roadmap was to forge a credible and cost-effective pathway for identification management in Nigeria.

To aid implementation, the Nigerian government adopted the use of a steering committee, a strategic unit, and an implementation unit situated in the country’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

Recall that in 2019, the World Bank, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Union (EU), provided the West African nation with $433 million to aid the provision of identity cards for the next five years.

However, the committee meets an uphill task given the current issues that surround the quest for digital identities.

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Themes: ID Documents and Passports
Regions: Nigeria
Year: 2020