The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved the merging of the National Identity and Bank cards in Nigeria.
This followed a memorandum presented by the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy to the meeting of the Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, who briefed the media after the meeting, said that move was to accommodate Nigerians, especially those in the rural communities, who want to have a hard copy of the National Identity Card.
Pantami said that even though what is mandatory for citizens and legal residents is acquiring the National Identity Number, NIN, many Nigerians residing in rural communities have continued to request the identity card at offices of the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC.
“Acquiring the number is mandatory for both citizens and legal residents as in the NIMC Act 2007 Section 27.
“However, the card is optional, but many citizens, particularly those living in rural communities, go to NIMC complaining that they need the card at hand even though it is optional.
“To make it easier, in NIMC last year we introduced even smart ID cards where you can download it from the NIMC App.
“It is just a smart card; you don’t need to have it physically. But that is becoming difficult for our people in rural communities.
“In order to accommodate people looking for the card at hand, NIMC partnered with the CBN, where citizens interested in having the hard copy of the card can go to their bank.
“The bank is permitted to print the card, along with either Mastercard or Visa card.
“It is going to be in the form of a multipurpose card where it will serve as your National Identity Card, on the one hand, and also your bank card on the other, either Mastercard or Visa card or any form of a card, based on the agreement without any additional cost on our citizens.”
Pantami said citizens and legal residents who desire the multipurpose cards could go to their banks and apply for them.
“So, at your bank, when you apply for a card, you can indicate that you want this card as a multipurpose card, where it will serve as your bank card on hand and also your National Identity Card on the other.
“Both of them are going to be printed on the same card and it is going to serve the same purposes without any additional cost.
“This is to make it much easier for citizens and legal residents that are interesting in having the hard copy of the card at hand.”
He said that NIMC and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, also signed a non-disclosure agreement where privacy and confidentiality of persons must be respected in the course of providing the card.
“When you apply for the card, that bank will apply online to NIMC through their data base.
“When they verify and confirm that your record in their data base is in alignment with your record in NIMC data base, that will be permitted and the card is going to be printed for you immediately.”
Pantami said that the Council also approved a memo that would enhance the implementation of the integration of the NIN with phone SIM.
He recalled that President Buhari approved the implementation of the policy in February 2020, while it was launched and unveiled on May 6, 2021.
“In order to consolidate the implementation, the National Communication Commission, NCC, comes up with a proposal that will enhance the implementation of the policy and bring many more benefits to it.
“These benefits are number one, it will sanitize the database; Number two, it is going to be automated; number three, it will make the process of SIM replacement much easier for citizens and legal residents.”
He said a system would be deployed that is going to be automated and would facilitate the NIN and SIM during the verification and many more.