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NIMC says ‘a lot of work’ ahead as Nigeria digital ID issuance passes 107M

NIMC says ‘a lot of work’ ahead as Nigeria digital ID issuance passes 107M

Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) says 107.3 million national identification numbers (NINs) have been issued as of this month, but the road ahead to reach 200 million citizens with digital ID is still long and rugged.

In a recent press conference to give updates on the digital ID enrollment process, as reported by The Cable, the Director General of NIMC, Abisoye Coker-Odusote, said the focus of the agency now is to increase the capacity of the system at all levels, which means it’s “a lot of work that needs to be done.”

Recently, the NIMC concluded a deal with Idemia to increase the country’s digital ID management capacity, to make it possible to accommodate up to 250 million entries.

At the presser, Coker-Odusote sounded reassuring despite mentioning a number of problems plaguing the ID registration process, including outdated equipment in many of the registration centres across the country.

She said efforts are on course to made improvements on aspects including network infrastructure, software licensing and data management in order to strengthen their enrollment capacity and enable many more people obtain digital ID. These efforts, she says, will take between six to nine months.

Payments expected for multipurpose digital ID card

Speaking about the recently announced multipurpose digital ID card, the NIMC executive said citizens will be expected to pay for it, like they do for bank cards.

The payment will be done through banks and the cards will be obtained 48 hours after payment.

“Just like how you pay to access your ATM cards in the banks, Nigerians will pay through the banks to access their cards within 48 hours after payment,” Coker-Odusote is quoted by Legit as saying.

An announcement about the introduction of the card last month sparked some confusion among Nigerians, forcing the NIMC to make a clarification.

NIMC busts gang of suspected fake ID card makers

While the NIMC is making a push to expand digital ID coverage in the country, fraudsters are at work to taint the efforts.

The ID authority says it has busted a gang of suspected criminals alleged to be producing fake national ID cards and extorting huge sums of money from NIN seekers in the process, according to Punch.

The NIMC Director General said some of the fraudsters present themselves as NIMC staff, while others are cybercafé operators creating links and generating fake NINs with data not found in the NIMC database.

Some arrests have been made, she said, adding that they are likely to face prosecution when ongoing investigations have been concluded.

Over 8M SIMs not linked to NINs disconnected

A major telecommunications operator in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, says it has disconnected about 8.6 million SIM cards from its network belonging customers who have not complied with the SIM-NIN linkage obligation.

According to Nairametrics, the move follows instructions from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) that all SIMs not linked to NINs, or re-verified with NIN, be suspended.

In its Q1 2024 financial report, the company says the SIM-NIN linkage directive affected its subscriber numbers with a decrease of about two million. MTN Nigeria CEO, Karl Toriola, is meanwhile quoted as saying that the NCC has extended the deadline for the exercise from April 15 to July 31.

The SIM-NIN registration process in Nigeria, which stared in December 2020, has faced several challenges, including huge costs reported by telcos and duplicative data capture by Nigerians.

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