Nigeria directs NIMC to speed up biometrics enrollment for digital identity
The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Nigeria’s agency charged with handling digital identity issues, has been called upon to accelerate the process of establishing biometric digital identification for citizens of the country of more than 200 million people.
NIMC currently registers 500,000 persons per month but the new recommendation means that it will have to up the numbers to 2.5 million within the same period, Nigerian newspaper The Guardian reports.
The report adds that the new instructions were delivered recently in Abuja as the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Pantami received top officials of NIMC.
Citing a press statement by the Minister’s spokesperson, The Guardian indicated that the Minister promised to help NIMC surmount some of the challenges it currently faces such as those of inadequate material and financial resources.
He said the goal of the new move is to speed up plans set out by the Federal Government to provide digital identity to all Nigerians. “Nigerians should enrol for the digital identity. This is imperative because the National Identity Number (NIN) will soon be made mandatory for accessing government services and interventions,” Dr. Pantami said.
In order to ensure that efforts to increase the biometrics enrollment numbers work, the NIMC has been advised to not only open up special units to deal with complaints and worries of Nigerians, but also to carry out vociferous sensitization campaigns in order to convince more Nigerians on the importance of the digital identity. Such sensitization campaigns, it has been recommended, should be done even in indigenous languages.
The ongoing digital identity enrolment in Nigeria is part of a World Bank co-funded project approved earlier this year. The project, dubbed Nigeria’s Digital Identification for Development, is expected to issue digital ID numbers to at least 150 million Nigerians within the next three years.