The Federal Government’s launch of the new Digital Identity Ecosystem programme will help facilitate the collection of citizens’ biometric data nationwide within the shortest possible time. Engr. Aliyu Aziz, Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) made the statement in a reform seminar held at Abuja by the Bureau of Public Service Reform (BPSR).
‘The purpose of the ecosystem approach is to leverage existing capabilities and enrolment facilities of government agencies, partners and private sector organisations in Nigeria, as opposed to building new ones,’ Engr. Aziz explained.
This, he said, involves ‘coordinated efforts of all enrolment partners,’ including all government agencies involved in biometric data collection as well as partners and companies in the private sector to be licensed by NIMC.
In his presentation titled ‘Reinventing Nigeria’s Digital Identity Ecosystem,’ Engr. Aziz said with the approval by the Federal Executive Council of the National Roadmap on Identity Development in Nigeria, the NIMC Regulations 2017, ISO Certified and upgraded backend in place, ‘it’s now time to commence the implementation of the Mandatory usage of the National Identification Number (NIN).’
The new Digital Identity Ecosystem is a Federal Government-led initiative to collect biometric data nationwide in one-go by leveraging existing ecosystem of all government agencies including Federal, State and LGAs and the Private sector.
Engr. Aziz said the ecosystem approach of enrolment will constitute ‘trusted partners,’ and a ‘pay-per-play model’ to facilitate successful enrolments and fast-track the process nationwide.
‘NIMC will facilitate collecting of identity data (biometric and demographic data) by also ensuring that partners collect data and are paid per successful enrolment. NIMC stores data and uses same to offer a Unique ID to the citizens and legal residents,’ he said.
Emphasising the importance of the digital identity ecosystem, Engr. Aziz said: ‘As the Federal Government Agenda, we are all enjoined to work together as one Government (though many agencies) to achieve the ID objectives and bequeath a sustainable and credible system of identity to our nation and generations to come.
‘Therefore, everyone, every sector (Public or Private) has a role to play – participate, partner, be compliant, champion the project, support the process and educate others on the importance of the initiative and how it can and must be achieved.’
According to the nation’s Chief Enrolment Officer, ‘there is a strong relationship or correlation between Identification and Reforms, both are central in realising effective delivery of important government services to the people.’
With the effective commencement, on January 1, 2019, of the mandatory usage of the NIN, all persons must, according to Section 27 of the NIMC Act 2007, present their NIN for the following transactions: Application for, and issuance of a passport; opening of individual and or personal bank accounts; purchase of insurance policies; subject to the provisions of the Land Use Act, the purchase, transfer and registration of land by any individual or any transaction connected therewith; such transactions pertaining to individuals as may be prescribed and regulated by the Pension Reform Act, 2004;
such transactions specified under the Contributory Health Insurance Scheme.
- such transactions that have social security implications
- all consumer credit transactions
- Registration of voters
- Payment of taxes
- such relevant government services; and
- all other transactions which the Commission may so prescribe and list in the Federal Government Gazette.
Making further clarifications, Engr. Aziz said contrary to views and opinions held or expressed in some quarters, the mandatory usage of the NIN does not mean everyone must have been enrolled by January 1, 2019.
‘What it means is that from January 1, 2019, to receive any of the above listed government services or others not immediately listed here, the agency offering the service must demand the NIN; and, where the individual has not previously been enrolled, the agency will immediately enrol such a person, send the data to NIMC and we then generate the NIN for the person.
‘This is the essence of the ecosystem approach, which is meant to fast track the entire process, thereby ensuring that all persons are enrolled in one-go,’ he clarified.