The Nigeria government recently set up a Presidential Committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonization (CDMH).
The aim is to document the identity of every Nigerian digitally.
Although long overdue, the decision was prompted by the U.S. restriction on temporary visa applicants.
In January, U.S. president, Donald Trump listed Nigeria among five other countries whose citizens were restricted from migrating to the U.S.
He, then, raised about six areas of concern that should be addressed for future reconsideration.
The Nigeria Government has, since, been working around the clock to meet with required criteria.
Its latest attempt is the replacement of the plastic National ID card with a digital version.
The CDMH committee led by Mr. Rauf Aregbesola claims to have all six concerns of the U.S. under review.
“Out of the six areas of concerns raised by the U.S., Nigeria had fully satisfied two. Two are substantially satisfied while little progress has been made on the remaining two,” Mr. Rauf said in a report.
Progress the CDMH Committee have made so far
Also, the report provided by the committee chairman addresses other pressing concerns.
For instance, since 31st May 2020, the committee has registered about 145,695 lost and stolen passports on INTERPOL’s database.
The committee likewise recommended that a Criminal Information Management (CIM) system should be established.
This establishment, according to the chairman, will include a Data Fusion Centre.
Replicating INTERPOL’s model, the CIM system will double as a bank for National Criminal DNAs.
Additionally, the committee chairman recommended the harmonisation of existing identity data.
In his words, “this will be pioneered by Agencies responsible for the National Identification Number (NIN).”
With the above provision, responsible agencies are to complete this exercise before 30th June 2021.
INEC, on the other hand, has until 31st December 2021, to complete the exercise.
Mr. Rauf further prompted the FG on the issuance of the following as an executive order;
- Exclusive collection of biometric data by NIMC and its Licensees;
- Exclusive storage of Biometric data in the National Identity Database and the discontinuance of biometric data storage of new registrations by all agencies and institutions in Nigeria;
- The mandatory use of the NIN for identification in all government services;
- The mandatory use of NIN by all Mobile Network Operators(MNOs) for issuance of SIM with effect from 30th June 2021;
- NIN as a unique identifier for all public servants.
As earlier communicated, the chairman emphasised the urgent need to establish a National DNA Data bank for Nigeria.
Other than for criminal purposes, the database will consist of DNA profiles of Nigerian citizens.
As such, the Federal Government itself will maintain the database to ensure her citizens’ privacy.
The digital identification
Nigerians will no longer have to go about with the traditional plastic National ID-card. All they require now is their identity number.
Once they meet this requirement, their citizen’s profile will be automatically registered in the data bank.
“The card is just for convenience; the real thing is the number you have. With that number, you are on the data bank.
“Everything about you is there. We are just upgrading it such that your DNA, too, will be there very soon.
“Even if you are in a car, I will know if you are in the car with your DNA once it’s already captured. You are already captured, you cannot run away anymore,” Aregbesola added.
This recommendation by the Minister of Interior reaffirms that of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami.
The Communication Minister had earlier told the Press that the era of card issuance was gradually ending.
He also buttressedthe need to necessitate digital identification.
According to Pantami, it will be easier if citizens can memorise their NIN.
The provision of this to any authority will rule out the mandatory need to carry about the plastic card.
“If you can memorise it by heart, wherever you go, that central database domiciled with NIMC will provide the number, and each of your data will be provided,” the minister said.
Director-General of NIMC, Mr. Aliyu Azeez, also spoke on the same course.
He compared the digital identification to social security in other countries like the U.S.
In his own opinion, the new development will aid foreign exchange.
He added that other forms of identification by relevant agencies have equally been synced to NIMC.
In his final note, Aregbesola addressed U.S concern that cast doubt on “the Nation’s identity management.”
He stated optimistically that the committee’s recommendations, if followed through, could ease the imposed visa restrictions.
NIMC Mobile ID
National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) recently rolled out a dedicated mobile app to fast-track digital identification.
It’s the commission’s latest attempt to replace the traditional plastic cards with a digital alternative.
The app requires your 11-digit National Identity Number (NIN), and phone number.
Once registered, the app will pop a digital copy of your ID card.
It will provide a detailed profile – Surname, Name, Expiry date, and document number.
Currently, the app is available for download both on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
How to register your NIN
1. Go to your App Store or Google Play Store.
2. Search for NIMC mobile ID, download and install on your mobile device
3. Once installed, set it up by providing the following details;
- A valid 11-digit NIN
- The mobile number you used to register your NIN.
4. Once you have submitted the required details, the app will prompt you to agree to some terms that;
- Consent that your data will be encrypted and downloaded into the secure mobile application for personal identity verification purposes.
- Consent to 3rd parties, known to and on behalf of the NIMC, to verify your identity as presented for such purpose.
- Attest that the NIN provided is yours and no one else’s and that you may be prosecuted on the account that you provided wrong or misleading information.
5. Once your application is successful, you will be able to access your mobile/digital ID-card then.
NIMC has put measures in place to limit the possibility of criminals compromising this initiative.
As provided in the app, citizens can only link up to 3 devices and must have Nigerian-registered mobile numbers associated with their NIN.
Also, no one can verify your ID without your express approval and consent.
Additionally, you can synchronise your BVN, TIN, Drivers’ License, and Passport Numbers to a secure wallet tied to NIN.
This information will be encrypted and known only to the owner until it is required.
Comments on the new initiative
From the reactions all over the internet, Nigerians have been anticipating this day for a very long time.
Now, citizens can make use of a digitised National ID-card synced to a unified database.
You can download your perm National ID card from NIMC mobile app??
Omo, If this is true it’d be the best news I’ve heard all week man.
— Alabi Glock 30 (@iam_sauceied) August 15, 2020
This is one of the few things the Federal Government has gotten right with digitisation. People have also attested to this through their various comments across all social media platforms.
“TECHNOLOGY NO LONGER A LUXURY, IT’S OUR NEW WAY OF LIFE” – OSINBAJO
You can now download your National ID in less than 3 mins.
Kindly, use the url below to download the NIMC (National Identity Management Commission) mobile app,… pic.twitter.com/RZotHa1TFH
— Francis Ekpenyong (@ekpesfrancis) August 15, 2020
People have expressed their excitement at the availability of the mobile app. Some others who attempted to verify their NIN but faced a couple of challenges commented, respectively.
Heard @nimc_ng has an app already on playstore. But I searched, I didn’t find.
I used the ussd code to get my nin number back, but I’ve not gotten slip.
— Deborah Anuoluwapo Adeleke (@AdelekeDebora15) August 17, 2020
While the app is mostly accurate, it is not the same for all users. There are complains about unmatched profiles – the one the app provides after verification.
Othe arising concerns include wrong profiling and inability to identify users’ NIN.
In other cases, some users can’t access their NIN via the mobile app.
This NIMC Mobile ID app is crazy, i inserted my NIN, after saying it was successful this is what it shows to be my National ID.
I can’t even pronounce the name aswear 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/kpU5H5wzoP
— HD_Sani® (@Hassan__Dans) August 15, 2020
This is not my information entirely likewise so many Nigerians that uses this app to verify their NIN using NIMC Mobile ID,please @nimc_ng checkmate this app and update it to avoid crime on others people privacy. Is very urgent as many are using it now. @DrIsaPantami pic.twitter.com/8X9qshZol3
— 💧نبابا حسين (@prestige_nab) August 15, 2020
— Joel🧔 Diamond 💎 (@JoelDiamond10) August 17, 2020
The NIMC will surely address most of these concerns soon. They’re rife now mainly because the app is still undergoing modifications.
Have you digitised your National Identity Card yet? What are your experiences using the app?
Let us know in the comments section below. If not, tell us – what are you still waiting for?