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Nigeria inaugurates committee to spearhead inclusive digital ID drive

Nigeria inaugurates committee to spearhead inclusive digital ID drive

A steering committee to man efforts within the framework of Nigeria’s Digital Identification for Development (Nigeria ID4D) project has been commissioned.

The committee was put in place in a ceremony chaired on March 19 by a representative of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, according to a press statement from his office.

The SGF is the Chairman of the committee while the Director General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Abisoye Coker-Odusote, will serve as its secretary.

The committee is part of a three-tiered institutional framework put in place to ensure overall governance, coordination, and communication with ecosystem partners, and day-to-day project implementation of the country’s digital ID scheme.

The commissioning means that the seven-member steering committee will immediately swing into action to “ensure that every Nigerian is enrolled on the digital identification system which will facilitate access to services, improve service delivery and bolster Nigeria’s digital economy.”

The Nigeria ID4D is a World Bank-supported initiative which seeks to ensure that at least 148 million Nigerians have a digital ID by mid this year, but the target is now unlikely to be met with just around 105 million digital IDs issued to date. The initiative also aims to speed up Nigeria’s digital transformation efforts.

Speaking for the SGF during the ceremony, his representative, who’s permanent secretary in the general services office, Dr. Nnamdi Maurice Mbaeri, underlined the importance of digital ID as a tool for accessing important public services, alluding to a recent approval by President Bola Tinubu for the mandatory use of the digital ID number (NIN) to obtain services.

In her own remarks following the inauguration of the committee, Coker-Odusote said the step signals a new start to collective efforts in building and optimising the power of digital identity for Nigeria’s digital economy transformation, hoping that the wealth of experience of committee members will be of great contribution to efforts geared towards the successful execution of the project.

In its own statement on the event, the NIMC said the committee will go beyond the policy formulation mandate, to provide direction for collaborative efforts to ensure that every Nigerian has a secure and verifiable digital ID using an approach that respects data privacy and fundamental human rights.

The inauguration of the steering committee comes at a time when the NIMC says it is investigating a reported breach of the country’s national identity database.

In February, NIMC distributed biometric devices to all the 36 states to step up digital ID enrollment.

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