Paucity of funds has been attributed for the slow processes for the issuance of national electronic identity cards (e-ID) to Nigerians who have successfully enrolled for the unique National Identity Number (NIN) which is the bonafide and unique identifier for genuine Nigerians.
Director General of the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Aliyu Aziz, said that poor budgetary funding to speedily migrate the backend technology for the data processing is mainly responsible for the slow production of e-ID for Nigerians that have successfully completed the NIN enrolment processes. According to him, so far the Commission has enrolled 18.5 million Nigerians out of which only 1.2 million cards had been produced. He said that the Commission had recently resumed the production of cards starting with the backlog from April 2013.
At an interactive media session on Saturday, August 5, held at the NIMC Lagos office, Alausa, Ikeja, Aziz attributed poor funding “as the overriding hindrance” to the mandate and targets set for the Commission. He listed the many benefits of the NIN to include one person one identity, enhanced participation in the political process and its value as an important tool to fight corruption and terrorism.
Aziz said that NIMC had previously requested for N30 billion to execute its mandate of a single identity for the Nigerian people. He said that since the request was turned down, the Commission had to think of alternative options for the management of the processes. According to him, since low budgetary provision had encumbered the production of the e-ID cards, the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has emphasized the need to focus on enrolments of Nigerians. He said that it is imperative that all the disparate biometric fields are operating as a single ecosystem.
Aziz said that following wise counsel by the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, NIMC had re-strategize in the management of its core mandate. According to him, NIMC is now focused on integrating with the banks’ platforms in order to capture the Bank Verification Number (BVN) of banks customers to fast track the integration of the disparate biometric data forest across the different platforms. He said that the data management platform of NIMC has been configured to integrate with National Population Commission’s (NPC) data capturing of new births and deaths, Federal Road Safety Commission’s (FRC) driver license, Health National Health Insurance Scheme’s (NHIS) insurance, Nigerian Immigration Service for international passport, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for SIM cards, and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for voters register among others.
In order to tackle the challenge of integrating the database of the different agencies that have previously captured citizens’ biometrics, the NIMC boss said that the commission needed to address some of the challenges it was facing, such as data captured being very poor and absence of a central ID repository. Others, he said, were up-scaling deficiency, legal framework peculiarity and the challenge of political will.
Another dark alley in the mandate of the Commission outside of the poor funding, according to him, was inadequate staff remuneration which had led to constant loss of strategic human resources.