NIMC postpones mandatory use of NIN

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), has postponed the date for the commencement of the mandatory use of the National Identification Number (NIN), from September 1, this year to January 9, next year.

The Commission had earlier directed that all transactions involving the identification of individuals as specified in Section 27 of NIMC Act, must be done with the NIN beginning from September 1, this year.

 General Manager, Corporate Communications at NIMC, Abdulhamid Umar explained that the extension of the former timeline is as a result of the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari that all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to expeditiously harmonise their biometric databases.

The extension would enable the Commission to progress further on ongoing efforts with the MDAs that have reached advanced stages of harmonisation with NIMC including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Safety Commission (FRSC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Pension Commission (PenCom), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).

This would help avoid situation similar to what was experienced when the CBN wanted to enforce the terminal date for the bank verification number (BVN), leading to a late rush to meet the deadline/massive turn out of citizens and the troubles they had to go through.

It would also help ensure that the need for double enrolment is reduced to the barest minimum during this transition period when the harmonisation is being implemented.

Furthermore NIMC management has taken into consideration the fact that the CBN had extended by a few months, the deadline for the completion of the BVN exercise thus extending the time frame for the completion of the harmonization it has begun with the CBN on the BVN programme.

It is expected that with the planned harmonisation which will effectively link all MDA biometric databases - INEC, FRSC, PenCom, FIRS/JTB, NHIS, FMARD and others, citizens will not be required to have their biometrics taken every time by these institutions in the near future.

Also the MDAs will invariably act as valid agents to the NIMC, collecting their own data as well as providing data required for the issuance of the NIN by the NIMC, based on the minimum national standards for biometric and demographic data capture already set by the MDAs.

Also the NIMC has concluded plans to provide pre-enrolment services on smart phones. This will ensure that citizens can start their enrolment using their smart phones, a development that would ensure that in the next couple of months citizens, of all ages, would have completed their demographic enrolment before they proceed to NIMC Enrolment Centres for their biometric data capture to complete their enrolment.

Management believes that this will help to decongest the Enrolment Centres as well as ensure that citizens enroll at their convenience as the cut off date draws nearer.

It will be recalled that a few months ago the NIMC had announced that it would start to enforce the use of the NIN by citizens in the conduct of certain transactions as specified in Section 27 of the NIMC Act, 2007.

But the need to complete the initiation of the process of harmonization, to ensure that at least legacy databases of MDAs are linked is an important process that would facilitate citizen’s adoption and participation in the process.

The NIN is an 11 digit number assigned to an individual upon successful enrolment into the National Identity Database (NIDB). It is what represents the unique entry of a person's personal information in the National Identity Database. Once issued to an individual that number cannot be used again.

Management has expressed satisfaction with the ongoing distribution of the national eID Cards and increasing appreciation of the fact that it is both a KYC Card and a Payment Card. Also the public are greatly appreciating that ‘the NIN and not the Card, is Your Identity’. Accordingly a Task Force has been set up by Management to ensure faster distribution of the Cards by increasing the number of Card Collection Centres by 300.

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