NIMC promises hitch-free e-registration

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) says it will register 100 million Nigerians within the first thirty months of the official commencement of the electronic registration exercise in the country.

The agency is hoping that the Federal Government will flag off the exercise by this quarter.

Speaking in Abuja recently after a media inspection tour of NIMC facilities in the FCT and its Data Recovery Centre in Minna, Niger State, the Director General of NIMC, Dr. Chris Onyemenam, however lamented the dearth of connectivity/power, geographical reach and front end funding of the programme.

Onyemenam said, in the past, Nigeria had focused too much interest on issuing of identity cards, noting, however, that the current mandate by NIMC is not to issue ID cards but to issue National Identity Numbers to duly registered persons in the country.

NIN is a non-intelligent set of uniquely assigned numbers to individuals upon successful enrollment.

The enrolment consists of the recording of an individual's demographic data and capture of 10 fingerprints, head-to-shoulder facial picture and digital signature, which are all used to cross-check existing data in the National Identity Database to confirm there is no previous entry of the same data.

He said all the requirements set down for the registration in a sync with global best practices, adding that they meet the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO).

Though the pilot exercise on the scheme started in Abuja on February 23, 2012, Onyemenam said the pilot exercise has been extended to each state and now to the 774 local government area, saying that the nationwide enrollment will commence before the end of June.

"By the end of second quarter of 2013, we expect the actual nationwide enrollment exercise will be launched by the Presidency. From the time it is launched, it is our target to have hit 100 million enrollments in 30 months."

He said after the enrolments, the NINs would be issued. "This will be followed by the issuance of cards that are Chip & PIN-based and designed with more than 18 security features embedded, making it difficult for the cards to be cloned by fraudsters.

"We are not perfect but we are completely in compliance with necessary International Standard Organisation (ISO) and ICAO certifications. But we have made much effort to ensure that the cards are not easily forged. And we have partners such as," he said.

He said providing the nation with a reliable data base will guarantee inland security, make national planning easy, promote the central Bank of Nigeria (CB’S) financial inclusion strategy, boost cashless economy and engender trade and commerce in the economy.

Speaking on the occasion, Uche Chigbo, assistant director, Operations, said registration is ongoing in at least 27 out of the 36 states of the federation, promising that it will be extended to all the 774 local government areas of the country.

She said the personnel that will be deployed to do the job are all employees of NIMC, promising that end has come to the practice of using ad hoc personnel. She added that the offices of the agency will be opened to every Nigerian so that should the need arise for people to update their data, they easily would work in there and effect it.

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