NIMC Pushes Forward as Nigeria Surpasses 107 Million Digital ID Issuance

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By Milcah Tanimu

Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) announced a milestone, with over 107.3 million national identification numbers (NINs) issued to date. Despite this achievement, the journey to provide digital IDs to all 200 million citizens remains challenging, according to NIMC Director General Abisoye Coker-Odusote.

During a recent press briefing covered by The Cable, Coker-Odusote emphasized the need to bolster the system’s capacity at all levels, acknowledging the significant work ahead. In a bid to enhance digital ID management capabilities, NIMC recently finalized an agreement with Idemia to expand the system’s capacity to accommodate up to 250 million entries.

While discussing ongoing efforts to streamline the ID registration process, Coker-Odusote highlighted existing challenges such as outdated equipment in registration centers nationwide. NIMC aims to address these issues by improving network infrastructure, software licensing, and data management, with expected enhancements within the next six to nine months.

Multipurpose Digital ID Card Payment Scheme

Coker-Odusote also revealed plans for a multipurpose digital ID card, which citizens will be required to pay for similar to bank cards. Payments will be facilitated through banks, with cards available within 48 hours after payment. This clarification comes in response to recent confusion following the announcement of the card’s introduction.

Crackdown on Fraudulent Activities

Despite NIMC’s efforts to expand digital ID coverage, fraudulent activities persist. The agency recently uncovered a group of suspected criminals involved in producing fake national ID cards and extorting money from NIN seekers. Some perpetrators posed as NIMC staff, while others operated cybercafés generating fake NINs not registered in the NIMC database. Investigations are ongoing, with arrests made and potential prosecutions pending.

SIM-NIN Linkage Compliance

In line with regulatory directives, major telecommunications operator MTN Nigeria disconnected approximately 8.6 million SIM cards belonging to customers who failed to link their SIMs with NINs. This move follows instructions from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to suspend SIMs not linked to NINs or re-verified with NIN. Despite challenges reported by telcos, including high costs and duplicative data capture, the NCC extended the deadline for the SIM-NIN linkage exercise from April 15 to July 31, as stated in MTN Nigeria’s Q1 2024 financial report.

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