President Goodluck Jonathan has warned that the regime of duplication of Biometric data bases in Nigeria has ended, giving way to harmonisation and unification, with the National electronic Identification (e-ID) scheme just launched Thursday, which going forward, becomes the primary data base in the country.
Consequently, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is to ensure that all registrable citizens quickly get enrolled into the National Identity Database, the president directed, while all Government Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) involved in data capture, align their activities, with a view to switching over to the NIMC infrastructure.
Industry watchers say a unified national identity database, sitting on a technology platform, confers proper identity records, management and verification, as well as facilitating national and business planning.
They add that it practically eliminates fraud, including through the typical ghost worker model, and through multiple international passports and other identity cards and documents with fake names.
President Jonathan directed the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), to ensure compliance immediately, and directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, as well as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to work with the NIMC, to reach modalities for the harmonisation of their biometric projects.
The President was speaking in Abuja as he kicked off the issuance process for the N30.66 billion National Electronic Identity Card (e-ID Card) scheme, which is intended to electronically enroll citizens into a national identity database and issue the National Identification Number and National Identity (smart) Card.
The President also directed the NIMC to immediately complement the efforts of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS) and Pension Department by ensuring that federal civil servants and pensioners are promptly enrolled and issued their cards, so that the e-ID and the secure payment platform can facilitate speedy and safe payment of salaries and pensions.
He further directed that the identity authentication and verification services which are already in pilot phase, should immediately be extended to other law enforcement agencies and be made available at airports and other border posts, for enhanced security checks.
The new e-ID Card which is being handled by the NIMC, in collaboration with Access Bank, Master Card and Unified Payments multi-purpose, marks a new era of proper identification of citizens and will particularly help government to plan and route developmental programmes and projects to the most needy in the society, thereby, fostering inclusive growth.
It also simplifies the ‘Know Your Customer’ process and enables the holder assert his/her identity in Nigeria and across the world.
At the launch, President Jonathan warned that the logistics and speed of data collection must be improved upon.
“We must at the onset keep in mind that the journey to capture the populace, by issuing over 100million Cards has just begun. You should therefore ensure that the issuance process is prompt and swift enough to enable many more Nigerians obtain their own e-ID Cards, as soon as possible,” he directed.
Onyinye Nwachukwu & Elizabeth Archibong