The enrolment for the National Identification Number (NIN) by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has now become the valid identifier for citizenship claim by bonafide Nigerians. The enrolment exercise which started in 2007 with mandate to cover all Nigerians aged sixteen and above has now been refocused to cover children from age zero to sixteen.
Director General NIMC, Aliyu A. Aziz underscored this citizenship qualification at a media parley with technology journalists on Saturday, August 5 at the NIMC Lagos Office, Alausa, Ikeja. The theme of the interactive engagement was “National Identity Management System: Established Single Version of Truth. According to him, the importance of NIN was recently high graded by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) which also set January 2018 deadline on the presentation of NIN as a pre-condition for the issuance of Nigerian passport for both renewal and maiden applicants for the official travel document.
“It is the duty of every citizen to enroll and obtain his or her National Identification Number, which entitles one to be fully regarded as a Nigerian citizen,” he stressed, adding that “without the NIN anyone’s claims of being a Nigerian citizen are doubtful; that is what the NIMC Act stipulates,” he said. While emphasizing that it is mandatory for all Nigerians to acquire the NIN, he cautioned that anyone without the NIN issued by the commission ran the risk of being regarded as a non-citizen.
He said that the main objective of the registration is to have a single identification as the practice in other nations. According to him, prior to the takeoff of the exercise, Nigeria was the only country without a national means of identification but overwhelmed by “data forest” because of the proliferation of biometric capture by disparate agencies of government at the state and federal levels, in addition to the exercises by banks among other private sector initiatives.
Pointing out that only 18.5 million Nigerians have been enrolled since the exercise kicked off, he pledged to push the number to 28 million enrolments by the end of 2017. “The commission embarked on an enrolment strategy in 2012 which has grown exponentially since 2015,” he said. Breaking down the figures, he said that only 60, 000 enrolments was achieved in 2012, the figure rose to seven million in 2015 and fourteen million in 2016. While saying that the increasing participation of Nigerians in the exercise was commendable, he said that the ultimate goal of the Commission is to ensure that the remaining 90 per cent of the population yet to enroll participate in the exercise within the next two years.
Acknowledging that the Nigerian population grows by seven per cent annually, he that the Commission was also strengthening its internal dynamics, in order to able to cope with the logistics of national enrolment, which is a continuous exercise for all genuine Nigerians.