Nigerian State makes digital ID numbers mandatory to access government services

biometric fingerprint data

The government of the State of Kaduna in Nigeria has announced that as from May 1, 2021, it will be compulsory for all residents to show either their state Residents Card or National Identification Number (NIN) in order to have access to certain public services at Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the State. While this opens up the possibility of biometric authentication for services, many in the State have not yet registered for digital ID.

The move was announced by the Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Residents Registration Agency (KADSRRA), Dr. Zayyad Tsiga, Vanguard reports.

The official said although Kaduna currently boasts the second highest number of enrollments into the National Identity Database (NIDB), more efforts are underway to up the figures of those who are being registered for the Residents Cards and the NIN. Just over 3.1 million people have been enrolled in the biometric database, around one-third of Kaduna’s population, as of mid-February. More digital ID enrollment centers will be opened in all the 255 wards of the State.

“This new policy is being implemented with a view to further improving service delivery at all MDAs, the State’s digital economy and e-governance initiatives, social and financial inclusion, and much more, to the benefits of our dearest residents,” Vanguard quoted Dr. Tsiga as explaining.

Ahead of the May 1 date, the KADSRRA Executive Secretary said distribution of Residents Cards already produced will be done within the first quarter of this year. The digital ID cards, Dr. Tsiga says, will replace the need to have multiple ID cards for various use cases.

“Residents who have obtained their NIN using an address of another State, and now reside in Kaduna, are required to visit any enrolment center to update their NIN with their current Kaduna address in order to get a State Residents Card,” he advised, adding that only residents who have a valid Kaduna State residential address will be issued the card.

KADSRRA says it is working closely with the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, on the project.

Nigeria’s Federal Government last December made the procurement of the NIN effectively compulsory when it ordered that citizens must integrate them with their SIM cards, in a move that sparked mixed reactions. The NIN registration process is currently ongoing and the government has fixed an April 6, 2021 deadline for it.

Apart from SIM card integration, the NIN has also been made mandatory for procuring other documents such as a digital driver’s license.

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