Nigeria aims to enroll 80 million people in biometric database by 2016

November 18, 2015 - 

The CEO of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) said that Nigeria aims to enroll over 80 million Nigerians in its national biometric database by 2016, according to a report by This Day Live.

Chris Onyemenam, who will be leaving his post as CEO this week after eight years, also said that the national identity verification service will be available for Nigerians for a small fee.

“The card is being issued to everybody but when you are using it, you will pay a fee for your transactions,” said Onyemenam. “For instance, if you go to the embassy and they are using your card or using your number to access a confirmation process through the verification infrastructure, they will pay a fee. They might pass that charge to you. NIMC is not charging you, but we are charging the embassy.”

He hinted that ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have already begun the harmonization process of their database and biometrics with the commission, as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Onyemenam added that the consolidation efforts, particularly with a biometrics-backed banking verification number, are over 90 percent complete.

“The private sector support for data capture hasn’t work, we have now gotten out of it and in the interim, we are using harmonization to populate the database and for instance, if you have not enrolled with us and we get your BVN and data, we would process it and give you your NIN,” said Onyemenam. “The biometrics that you gave the banks will be used in our own case so you don’t need to capture and come for biometrics with us again, but you need to update your data because the data you gave them at the bank is data for bank account.

“The data that you will give to NIMC is the data for who you are, so you will still come and what we have done is to structure it in such a way that when you receive your NIN, at your convenience but before your card is issued, you will go and update your data at any of our enrollment centres.”

Onyemenam said that the NIMC central database currently holds the records of over seven million Nigerians in its system.

Previously reported, Nigeria’s federal government unveiled its plan to link bank customers’ biometric bank verification numbers (BVN) with their national identity card data by next year.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.