Engr. Aliyu Aziz, DG and CEO, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) spoke on the imperatives of national identify number [NIN] and its advantages to eliminate fraudsters and ghost and more. Excerpt.
I was enrolled in 2016 and I was asked to go and check online for the status
Yes, we started enrolment in 2012 so far Nigerians enrolled in 2012, 2013, their cards have been printed. The ones we are printing are the 2014. As much as possible, card issuance is based on first come, first served basis. In the printing that is 99% is first come, first served and as we want to deemphasize the card because if we focus on it we won’t be able to capture everybody and also we can just present this number now for any of the government service. The government services have been outsourced to the private sector to perform so all of them are mandated to accept the national identification number. You can reel off your national identification number by heart and the banks can check online just the same way they can check for your ATM card online to see whether the person exist in the system or does not exist in the system.
Once you have your card, you have your number and you can be identified. That’s a good one. When are we having the e-ID card, which you have just highlighted?
Verification is ongoing, but we provide for everybody, any entity that wants to verify currently like the banks have been connected. The public services like police have been connected. So they can verify a person, but harmonization and interconnection so far that is ongoing. The ones we have been working with has been BVN based on the Central Bank Governor’s directives and they have pushed about 15 million records to us which we have so far processed about 12 million records.
We are harmonizing very well with the BVN because their product, their standards are capturing the 10 fingerprints. It captures four fingers at the same time. It also takes the picture. So the others like INEC, we have tested some of the data and we are in the process of collecting more data from INEC but the National Communications Commission, we have collected five million records which we have perform some verifications on those that have generated reports on this. But as I said in the future, we’re doing the ecosystem abroad, which they can also harmonize or they can enroll from their own part. They can also harmonize and recreate at their own end.
The vision of NIMC is to provide sustainable world class identity management solution to affirm identity, enhance governance and service to every Nigerian by 2019. Is this practicable and if not, do you plan to extend it beyond the 2023 election year?
What doesn’t change is the mission. That does not change but the vision will change because vision is what you see. Because it’s what the CEO and management team have seen. So this vision we set it up when I came in 2015, by early 2016, we set up this mission and the 2019 is not here yet. It has nothing to do with the election year but it has to do with my first tenure, which will end in November 2019. So it’s to make allowance for whoever that comes next to work and brainstorm. He will come up with his own vision. If I’m the one to continue, it gives us awesome room.
Like that November 2019, we should be able to look at what we want to do. But that is really our vision. Before I came we had seven million records and now that we’ve multiplied it by two each year. Now by the end of last year we had 28 million. Now we are 30 million. So it’s our vision that it should move, grow astronomically and so far it is at two x but actually our strategy is 10x to multiply everything. That we will do by 10 x. So by 2019, we would have been 10 x or more. That is from the seven million we should be 70 million or above or even a hundred million. That is the vision that I see but as I said in the ecosystem approach whenever we started it, it is three years programme that everybody else should be captured by then.
I know that the identity team is very dear to the President. In your own road map, have you achieved majority of the goals you set, if not what are the other goals you are looking at between now and 2019?
Well, as I mentioned before, I didn’t tell you identity is a cross cutting issue. It has been there all along and since the act was signed by President Olusegun Obasanjo, NIMC has gotten lot of management. But as I said, it has nothing to do with the election but we had a lot of goals.
We were all shocked by the recession we have gone through and it slowed down a lot of things. But the vision and the mission do not change and the importance of the identity in terms of planning, security, financial inclusion, education, health insurance and there are some other benefits. Those things do not change. That is what we need. We need to know who-is-who; knowing who-is-who will never change. That is what will eliminate the fraudsters and the ghosts. You know, we have ghost in almost everything. So knowing who-is-who and also tagging, authenticating and verifying will remove the ghost that we have.
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