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Nigeria’s digital ID-issuing agency gets leadership change

Nigeria’s digital ID-issuing agency gets leadership change

Engr. Aliyu Abubakar Aziz, the Director General of the National Identity Management Commission – Nigeria’s digital ID-issuing body – has been put on pre-retirement leave, ahead of his final departure from the role on November 24.

A statement issued this week by the State House in Abuja says President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has appointed Engr. Bisoye Coker-Odusote as acting director general for the duration of the pre-retirement leave.

Aziz’s pre-retirement leave period will last for 90 days, beginning today August 24, according to the statement, signed by the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Ajuri Ngelale.

Coker-Odusote will begin his substantive tenure of four years when his acting stint runs out on November 24, the same day Aziz’ retirement becomes official, the statement clarifies.

Aziz retires after eight years of service at the helm of the NIMC during which he is credited with having dramatically transformed Nigeria’s identity registration story.

From under 10 million biometric IDs issued at the time Aziz took over as NIMC boss in November 2015, per the body’s enrollment dashboard figures, the country now has more than 101 million people registered for the national digital ID, known as the National Identification Number (NIN).

The NIMC is said to have also undergone major transformation under the stewardship of Aziz, including overseeing a government directive to link NINs to SIM cards which greatly contributed to a strong NIN uptake.

Throughout his two terms at the helm of the NIMC, Aziz also shared Nigeria’s digital ID success story in different international forums, such as at ID4Africa general meetings and livecasts.

Who is the new NIMC boss?

Bisoye Coker-Odusote is a 38-year-old IT engineer, who at the time of her appointment, served as the general manager and chief executive officer of the Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA).

LASIMRA is a regulatory body for infrastructure such as telecommunications, electricity, gas and water supply systems in Lagos state.

Coker-Odusote is leading many technology development initiatives in Nigeria and abroad, and also served as special adviser on technology to Bola Tinubu when he was governor of Lagos state, Business Day reports.

She also runs a foundation – The Bibi Coker Foundation – which grants scholarships to young girls interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses.

It is hoped that under Coker-Odusote, Nigeria will be able to reach its 148 million NINs target by 2024.

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