Confusion as Nigeria national ID cards multiply

Published: 9/Avr/2024
Source: Biometric Update

By Ayang Macdonald

There’ve been mixed reactions in Nigeria after the federal government unveiled plans to introduce a new multi-purpose national digital ID card, with some describing it as a duplicative effort and a waste of resources.

In a statement issued Friday April 5, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), said the new ID card, whose launch is supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System, will have payments and social service delivery functions, and will facilitate access to other services including travel, health insurance information, microloans, agriculture, food stamps, transport, and energy subsidies, just to mention a few.

The agency added that among other features, the credential, to be powered by a national ID card scheme dubbed AfriGo, will have a machine-readable zone (MRZ) in line with ICAO’s standards for biometric passports, a QR code that will contain the holder’s national identification number (NIN), and the possibility for face and fingerprints biometric authentication as the primary medium for identity verification through the data on the card chip.

One card or three different cards?

After the NIMC announcement, the institution’s Technical Adviser for Media and Communications, Ayodele Babalola, later made a declaration which appeared to be different from the substance of the ID authority’s April 5 statement.

In an interview with Punch, the official said three new cards will be introduced (apparently different from the announced multi-function card), and they’ll comprise a bank-enabled ID, a social protection card and another – the (ENBIC) which will be used within the West African community.

He didn’t not mention when these cards will be launched, saying the decision would be sequel to a clearance by the presidency.

The number of new cards to be introduced notwithstanding, the announcements come as Nigeria is pursing efforts to expand coverage of the NIN – another digital ID – which has so far been issued to nearly 105 million people. The World Bank recently lauded Nigeria’s NIN issuance progress in a report. Different states in the country, including Edo and Lagos also have biometric resident ID cards for different purposes.

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Themes: Cartes d’identité et passeports
Regions: Nigeria
Year: 2024