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Nigeria: National identity registration to begin after polls

April 16, 2011


Lead Image A new national identity registration would begin after the elections, the National Identity Management Commission, said on Wednesday, after the initial efforts by the federal government years ago could not yield the desired results.

Chris Onyemenam, the Director General, National Identity Management Commission, the guest speaker at the April edition of Information Value Chain Breakfast Forum, stated this at a monthly breakfast forum organised by Digital Jewels Limited. He said registration had already begun in Lagos and Abuja.

In his presentation, titled ‘The National Identity Management Scheme: e-Commerce catalyst or encumbrance’, Mr Onyemenam spoke on the gravity of challenges in identity management in Nigeria, and how the commission plans to tackle the encumbrances and restore sanity in the nation’s identity sector.

The botched project

Over eight years ago, the contract for the implementation of the national identity card scheme was awarded to SAGEM of France. However, the contract, which was laden with alleged bribery scandals, did not yield the results Nigerians expected because years after the registration, majority of Nigerians neither had a national card nor numbers with which to be identified.

In May 2007, the NIMC Act established the commission and provided the legal framework for the reforms in the sector. The reform mandate includes collecting basic demographic and biometric data, creating, operating and managing a National Identity Database, providing an on-line/off line cost effective verification and authentication infrastructure in Nigeria, integrating with ID schemes, providing standardized identity attributes and fostering the orderly development of an identity sector in Nigeria.

“As e-commerce catalyst, identity management has several benefits to the economy,” said Mr Onyemenam. “These include streamlining biometric-linked projects in the public and privates sector, eliminating multiple and ghost identities, reducing identity theft and related fraud (advance fee fraud), enhancing the work of law enforcement agencies, financial inclusion and development of financial services sector, creating new economic and employment opportunities, among others.”

The challenges

The challenges facing the scheme include multiple identification initiatives by institutions such as the Pension Commission, land registers, Federal Inland Revenue service, SIM registrars, Law enforcement Agencies, Financial Institutions, the Independent National Electoral Commission, Immigrations, Federal Road Safety Corps and several others who have to embark on their own personal registration and the absence of ‘core’ identity sector infrastructure.

Mr Onyemenam said that identity management is party of the federal government desire to develop and deepen the consumer credit sector, facilitate the enforcement of existing/extant laws and meet global practices, facilitate financial inclusion and development of commerce generally, harmonization of identification schemes committee in 2005. “It would help in the enhancement of the consumer credit sector, governance through e-governance, revenue processes, administration of social welfare programmes and subsidies, national payment system and improve standard of life as it would enhance national security among others,” he said.

  1. Adebisi simeon a.
    May 29, 2011 at 4:01 am

    The program is o.k. When do you think the recruitment of those who will do the work will started?

  2. Isibajo Adeola
    May 26, 2011 at 3:25 am

    This is a good idea…..

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