Boost for Nigeria’s National Identity System
Source: This Day (Abuja)
Having received federal government’s nod to join the Coalition of International Identity Day, the National Identity Management Commission, last week led Nigeria to become the first country in the world to formally adopt September 16, as her National Identity Day, writes Emma Okonji
Nigeria made history last week, when she celebrated her first National Identity Day(ID-Day) with glamour in Abuja, which was attended by stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including international bodies. The essence was to create awareness among Nigerians on the importance of identification as a modern tool for national development and social cohesion.
The ID-Day campaign was initiated at the 4th annual meeting of the ID4Africa Movement on 24 April 2018, in Abuja, as a global coalition calling for the recognition by the United Nations of September 16, otherwise known as 16.9, as International Identity Day(IID), since identity plays an increasingly important role worldwide in developed and developing economies.
Before the campaign, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) had commenced national identity enrollment and issuance of national identity cards to Nigerians and non-Nigerians with legal residents.
Explaining the importance of national identity system, the Director General of NIMC, Aliyu Aziz said: “The purpose of IID is to raise awareness about the important role identity plays in empowering individuals to exercise their rights and responsibilities fairly and equitably in a modern society.”
The NIMC, established by the NIMC Act No. 23 of 2007, mandates NIMC to establish, own, operate, maintain and manage the National Identity Database in Nigeria, register persons covered by the Act, assign a Unique National Identification Number (NIN) and issue General Multi-Purpose Cards (GMPC) to those who are citizens of Nigeria as well as others legally residing within the country.
The NIMC Act 2007 provides for the establishment of the NIMC, its functions, powers, establishment of the National Identity Database, assignment and use of General Multi-purpose cards, and the NIN.
The Act also provides the commission with powers to make regulations connected with its functions. The NIMC Act 2007 provides the repeal of the law that created the former Department of National Civic Registration (DNCR) and the transfer of its assets and liabilities to the NIMC.
Aziz has since intensified the enrollment of Nigerians into the NIMC database, and stressed the importance of NIN as a mandatory number for all Nigerians. From the seven million enrollment figure in 2015, Aziz was able to raise the enrollment figure to over 35 million as at April this year. He attributed the success to the NIMC gazette regulations of 2017, which makes NIN mandatory for accessing services like international passport, insurance, pension among others.
Based on the mandate, government agencies are beginning to key into NIMC’s enrollment and they are making it compulsory for members.
The federal government made it mandatory that every Nigerian must have an NlN. To achieve this, all data generating organisations have been directed to harmonise their databases with NlMC, whose mandate it is to implement the National ldentity System in Nigeria .
In compliance with NIMC’s mandate, the National Pension Commission, directed all Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to update the records of their clients. Subsequently, all Retirement Savings Account holders. both active and retired, were advised to approach their PFAs to provide their NINs and Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) as well as other mandatory biodata information, and the exercise is ongoing.
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