The Nigerian Government has expressed its dedication to the unification of all citizen identity databases using the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
Through this initiative, NIMC has introduced a user-friendly mobile application to simplify the National Identity Number (NIN) and digital identification processes nationwide.
During the official launch of the NIMC’s “Self Help” mobile app in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, as part of the 5th National Identity Day celebration, Minister of Interior Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo reaffirmed this commitment.
Tunji-Ojo noted that the Day is set aside to assess the country’s progress on National Identity Management, noting that data management is a prerequisite to implementing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda.
“Think about it: you can’t access bank services and get ATM cards without proving your Identity. You can’t even engage with others on online social media platforms without first verifying your Identity. So, Identity is key in our everyday lives, which is why we commemorate this Day today.
“With a database of over 100 million National Identification Numbers in the National Identity Database, NIDB, NIMC provided essential access to attaining this goal along with other major stakeholders.
“It is fitting then that the theme for today is, Identity as a Catalyst for Nigeria’s development. We are all stakeholders in ensuring the successful implementation of positive policies regarding national Identity as it affects government social safety net and financial inclusion programmes,” he stated.
Speaking to the media after the launch of the Self Help App, he said the Director General of NIMC, came to him to harmonise all identity databases in the country and that she has his support.
“The first day the DG came to my office that was her cardinal point of what she told me she’s to do and I can assure you that we are working on all the modalities to harmonising all identity data; from BVN, Telcos, NIMC, INEC, because NIMC is the statutory body that is given the power to harmonise identity database for the nation,“ he said.
The Acting Director General of NIMC, Abisoye Coker-Odusote, said reliable identity is not only a privilege but a fundamental right for all Nigerians.
Speaking on the APP, she said the agency created the Self Help App to ease the stress Nigerians go through to get enrolled for their National Identity Number (NIN), where they have to spend money and time and may not get instant feedback.
“We are trying to increase the turnaround time of registration. I’ve seen a lot of complaints from the average Nigerian about going to register NIN, enrolling for it takes a long time and it also takes them a long time to get feedback after registration has been completed.
“So what we’re trying to do at NIMC is to ensure that we create an ease of access for you to be able to register from the comfort of your home with digital or technical tools and register. And it will also remove the cost of going to a NIMC centre of office.“
Coker-Odusote added that Nigeria’s journey towards a robust Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) is emblematic of its commitment to harnessing the power of digital technology for the betterment of its citizens, especially in providing social services.
World Identity Day holds exceptional importance as it provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the pivotal role that identity plays in our lives and its profound impact on society.
It is a day to recognize the transformative power of identity in shaping our destinies, safeguarding our rights, and connecting us as global citizens.
Dayo Bankole, Managing Director, Barnksforte Technologies, spoke on the impact the self-help app would have on the general public.
He said: “Once we have a smartphone, you can download the app, register and change your data and send it in and it will be approved.
“Apparently, the problem this is going to be solving is allowing people to take care of changing their addresses, their date of birth, their names, in case they get married.”