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The federal government has announced its resolution to implement a permanent individual identification for every individual living in Nigeria and Nigerians in the diaspora before 2024.

Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Aliyu Aziz, stated this while addressing at the fifth Annual Meeting of the Identity for Africa (ID4Africa) Movement, which endured in Johannesburg, South Africa, lately.

Addressing the delegates, Aziz stated that for Nigeria to enhance governance, help its people rise out of poverty, restore growth and participate in the digital economy, “we need a unique digital identification platform that is linked to functional ID registries for accessing services.”

In realisation of the demands to function in the digital economy for sustainable growth, therefore, Aziz told the audience that Nigeria was executing a digital identity ecosystem project endorsed in September 2018 by the Federal Executive Council, the highest decision-making organ of government.

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Laying bare the grand plan by the government in his paper titled ‘Digital Identity the Cornerstone to Effective Service Delivery’ Aziz revealed that the “Strategic Roadmap Vision is to reach universal coverage of robust digital identification in Nigeria” by applying an ecosystem approach of enrolling citizens of all ages and legal residents within the set timeframe.

“The ecosystem approach of enrolment will constitute trusted partners, and a pay-per-play model for successful enrolments,” NIMC DG said, adding “the purpose of the ecosystem approach is to leverage existing capabilities and enrolment facilities of government agencies, partners and private sector operators in Nigeria, as opposed to building new ones.”

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Explaining further, he said the ecosystem approach would leverage the capacity of all ID stakeholders in the ecosystem to reach full coverage of the target population.

Aziz listed some unique and beneficial features of the digital ID ecosystem approach to include: Federal Government-led initiative to collect biometric data nationwide in one go; coordinated effort to avoid duplicating data collection at high cost and time; leverage existing ecosystem of government agencies and private sector organisations, among others.

The director-general named some of the stakeholders and partners in the ecosystem approach to include the National Population Commission, Nigeria Immigration Service, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Central Bank of Nigeria, National Health Insurance Scheme, National Independent Electoral Commission and the Federal Road Safety Commission.

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Others include the Corporate Affairs Commission, Nigerian Communications Commission, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, the Nigeria Police Force and the National Pension Commission.

He said on January 1, 2019, the government began the mandatory enforcement of the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) for such services like application for and issuance of passport, registration of voters, opening of bank accounts, all consumer credit transactions, purchase of insurance policies, transactions with social security implications, among others.

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