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Nigeria’s digital ID strides hailed, but more work needed to hit 148M enrollments by 2024

Nigeria’s digital ID strides hailed, but more work needed to hit 148M enrollments by 2024
 

A report published by the national daily Nigerian Tribune has examined the progress so far made by the country’s government in providing a digital identity to all citizens, and also offers suggestions on how achieve 148 million IDs issued by June 2024.

While the digital ID project has been increasing enrollments, the report recommends efforts be stepped up if the objectives of the ID4D are to be met.

Nigeria received World Bank funding in 2020 for the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) project. The goal is to enroll 148 million people with a digital ID by 2024, 65 million of which should be women and girls.

The article notes that since the federal government started registration for the 11-digit national identification number (NIN) in 2012, significant progress has been made despite the many challenges faced by the National Identity Management Commission – the government agency responsible for managing the biometric NIN project.

Commission figures show that as of May, 82.7 million NINs have been issued, 43.7 percent of which is female registrants. This number, the writer contends, has been significantly driven up since December 2020 when the federal government made it mandatory to link SIM cards to NINs. There were more than 10 million enrollments between December 2021 and May 2022, according to the article.

The feature also highlights the efforts of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan and the current president, Muhammadu Buhari, in promoting NIN enrollment. The writer outlines some of the policies of the two administrations in promoting the adoption of the NIN. The registration is compulsory for accessing many public services and for completing certain government transactions.

In trying to push registrations, the number of NIN centers has been multiplied, from 1,060 in February 2021 to 14,000 in December of same year.

Speaking recently at the ID4Africa general meeting in Marrakesh, Nigeria’s digital economy minister, Isa Pantami, said the government is on good footing for achieving the digital ID-for-all target by 2025.

Successes notwithstanding, the report quotes the lawyer and digital rights advocate Bukola Oyaleke who says the federal government has to do more if it wants to meet the ID4D target. These efforts, the lawyer holds, should include improving power supply and internet connectivity across the country, and continuous awareness campaigns on the importance of the NIN.

ID4D, population commission joining efforts

Meanwhile, plans have been finalized for the nation’s ID4D organization to help the Nigerian Population Commission with digitizing civil registration and census operations, writes The Will.

The outlet quotes the ID4D project coordinator Musa Odole Solomon as explaining during a visit to the population commission that they will continue to support moves aimed at creating the necessary regulatory framework for Nigeria’s civil registry as part of efforts to establish a foundational digital ID ecosystem.

“We are determined to invest in the civil registry system to reinforce the foundational ID ecosystem by delivering National Identity Numbers at birth, as part of the birth registration process through links with the digitized civil register. We therefore seek your collaboration and active participation in the implementation process,” said Musa Odole, according to The Will.

Also speaking, the commission boss Nasir Isa Kwara described Nigeria’s ID4D support as critical to their civil status registration modernization, and also reiterated plans by the population commission to deploy advanced technology including biometrics in next year’s population and housing census.

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