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Enrolling for NIN, a National Call – Aziz, NIMC Boss

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Engr Aliyu Abubakar Aziz, Director General, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC)

Perhaps never before in the history of nations has the issue of identity been as crucial as it is today. From Africa to America, Australia to Asia and Europe, how well or badly each country in each region has fared has depended largely on citizenship identity management. Stressing that Nigeria stands on the threshold of a new epoch in its identity management, ALIYU ABUBAKAR AZIZ, director-general, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), responded to journalists’ questions on the Commission’s current focus aimed at delivering a world-class identity ecosystem for Nigeria:

 

Why is NIMC pushing the National Identification Number now more than the ID card?

Aziz: The focus of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for the next three to five years is on the National Identification Number and not on the National e-ID Card.

We want to make the NIN understandable, acceptable, applicable and appreciated by Nigerians, as an important and intrinsic aspect of their entire life, rather than a physical card, which can be discarded while the number is for life.

Before now, we were focused on the Card but after the country went into recession, we decided to emulate other developed countries like the United States, which issues the Social Security Number, the United Kingdom, with the National Insurance Number; and India where they recently enrolled about 1.4 billion people, and issued them the Aadhaar.

In all these cases, the emphasis – or perhaps I should say the only thing in focus – is the number.

However, this does not mean that we won’t issue the cards, because it is there in our Act (NIMC Act, 2007) that we should issue a general multipurpose card to all registered Nigerians; therefore, we recently gazetted some regulations that will ensure participation of private partners in the Card personalisation services in order to handle the printing of the outstanding cards; but funding is a challenge.

Also, the intention of the Commission is to develop the identity ecosystem with all data collecting government agencies and licensed private agencies, in order to capture additional 50 million records by the end of 2018.

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What advantages, if any, does having the NIN confer on a citizen?

Aziz: The NIN bequeaths citizens with a lot of privileges and benefits. And like most modern economies where the national identity number is a national token that gives citizens access to government social interventions, the NIN also grants citizens certain rights as regards financial access, credit facilities etc. Mind you, in the case of the US, UK and India I mentioned earlier, like other advanced economies, a citizen can’t access any social services such as health, insurance and so on, without the requisite social security number; the number is indispensable.

So, here in Nigeria, the NIN facilitates interactions between citizens, the Government and private sector institutions thereby promoting socio-economic and political development.

Since citizens enjoy a “one-person-one-identity” for life, the NIN therefore enhances citizens’ participation in the political process, enables citizens to exercise their rights, facilitates management of subsidies and safety net payments, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) management and facilitates service delivery in Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

It also enhances the work of law enforcement agencies, e.g. public safety, policing, national security and border protection, and eliminates ghost and multiple identities, etc.

It also enhances the ability of citizens to assert their identity, have access to credit from financial institutions, protects citizens from identity theft – an antidote to identity theft driven frauds which expands access to other financial services including insurance.

The NIN enhances e-commerce by providing a means of payment as it is a tool for non-repudiation and security for financial transactions. It facilitates financial inclusion, hence the advancement of a cashless economy.

In security circles, the NIN is an important tool for the fight against corruption and terrorism; and finally helps launder Nigeria’s image abroad, amongst many others. So you can see that the NIN is multifaceted in utility.

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What role does the NIN play in Nigeria’s planning and security situation?

Aziz: With the NIN, all citizens enjoy a “one-person-one-identity”, which allows the government to search for an individual and all of his/her details either for planning and or for security purposes.

Government can query the database to ascertain how many unemployed individuals are in the system at Federal and State levels, the genders of those individuals, their occupation, skillset, age bracket, location, etc.

This will assist in planning for resources and benefit administration. As you know President Muhammadu Buhari has just signed the 2018 Appropriation Bill into Law; the NIN is a very useful and powerful instrument in assisting the governments – at all levels – budget appropriately for the citizenry, in the proper and effective allocation and spread of scarce resources.

On security, the relevant government security agencies are part of the National Identity Management System (NIMS) project from inception and have access to query the system using biometrics, etc to confirm individual’s identity.

Therefore, as soon as the National Identity Database is fully populated, all federal, state, and local government agencies as well as the private sectors can access the verification platform of the Commission, for different purposes, depending on the level of access granted to them by NIMC.

 

With the national elections of 2019 almost here, how useful will the NIN be for INEC and the electorate?

Aziz: As I said earlier, we are still harmonising data with all data collecting government agencies, as well as concluding plans to start the ecosystem approach which will see all government agencies and some licensed private sector companies collecting data and sending to the NIMC as the sole repository of biometric data.

This is expected to shoot up the record in the NIMC database by a huge percentage. Once we have a good figure, then INEC can leverage on the NIMC Database for electoral purposes.

The plans already on ground for this year include accelerated deployment of enrolment Centres in all Local Government Areas across the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, and enrolment of all Nigerians and legal residents including children.

Perhaps you know that children from birth can now be enrolled; this is a point that Nigerians should be aware of, especially with several babies being born across the country daily.

Parents will do well to avail themselves for the benefit of the new-borns of this window of enrolment opportunity that is now uniquely available.

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What are those social services that the NIN has become mandatory for?

Aziz: Pursuant to section 27 (1) and (2) of the NIMC Act, 2007, transactions including, applications for, and issuance of an International Passport; opening of individual and/or group bank accounts, all consumer credits; purchase of insurance policies; the purchase, transfer and registration of land by any individual; National Health Insurance Scheme, such transactions that have social security implications, registration of voters, payment of taxes, and pensions, etc., will be done with the NIN.

With the recent gazette and publication of the Mandatory Use of the National Identification Number (NIN) Regulations, 2017, the Commission will on a later date, begin enforcement of the NIN for these transactions and more.

Our advice to Nigerians is: do not wait till you have to, go out there and be enrolled before you have to through enforcement, because then you will have to experience crowds and delays.

 

NIMC has enrolled just 30 million Nigerians so far; with a population of 180 million to 198 million, what is NIMC doing to fast track enrolment?

Aziz: We currently have about 30.5 million data in the database with the figures growing daily. The gradual acceptance of the NIN as a means of identification by our partners and stakeholders is also driving up the numbers by the day.

For examples, organisations like the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), etc have all made the NIN a mandatory requirement for service delivery. Others are expected to follow suit.

On our part however, we have commenced aggressive and massive awareness campaign in all the states and the FCT to mobilise people for enrolment.

We are also working closely with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and other media partners with a special target on the grassroots, and it will continue for a long time, particularly with the ecosystem approach being canvassed by the World Bank and its allies.

Also, we have the mobile enrolment equipment which goes to some of the riverine and difficult terrains in the grassroots areas; and a good number will be rolled out by the end of this year.

 

Is there any hope that the entire Nigerian population will be enrolled into the National Database?

Aziz: Yes, of course! However, enrolment of eligible citizens and legal residents into the National Identity Database (NIDB) is an on-going and continues process.

In other words, there is no limited or specific time frame for all citizens to be enrolled and issued the NIN, because even after enrolling all citizens, there will always be new ones such as new born babies, etc.

According to a recent World Bank report, Nigeria adds seven million into the population every year; that is the size of Rwanda as a country. This means that there will always be enrolment year in, year out. So it is a continuous exercise and the Commission is poised to carry out its mandate to the letter.

NIMC, by design has offices in all the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and maintains active presence with enrolment centres in over 930 locations across these LGAs. More so, we are working to open more enrolment centres and take enrolment closer to the people, especially the grassroots.

 

What are the challenges that could delay the quick enrolment of the remainder of the population which is obviously the greater number?

Aziz: Well, the cynicism from the experience of the past was/and is still a big challenge.

However, we are gradually moving away from that problem as more Nigerians understand the difference between Card issuance and Identity Management.

Secondly, the high cost of opening and managing the Enrolment Centre because of needed stable power supply, active internet connection, low morale on the part of staff because of poor salary structure, the ‘expectation gap’ of “Card” issuance, are other challenges.

However we are slowly moving past these challenges as we ramp up more data into the database.

As citizens, what is the responsibility of Nigerians in ensuring they are enrolled?

Aziz: It is a National call, and all Nigerians are obliged to respond. The government has provided the opportunity, this platform for enrolling into the National Identity Database, to make life better in a modern, well managed and planned manner; the NIN gives the citizens that assurance.

So, if the government has done so much, and all the citizens are required to do is to go out and answer the national call, does anyone have any excuse not to answer the call?

 

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Africa.com Acquires iAfrica

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Media holding company Africa.com has today announced its acquisition of Primedia and MTN-owned news portal, iAfrica.com. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

In a statement, Africa.com says the acquisition builds on the company’s strength in running the news Web site and the business publisher’s network, a group of nearly fifty business content publishers on the continent who have joined Africa.com to create a digital audience of over 15 million influential business people.

Africa.com chairman and CEO, Teresa Clarke, will serve as executive editor of iAfrica.

“The acquisition of iAfrica creates a next generation South African media platform with a global reach,” says Clarke. “By acquiring iAfrica, we are able to combine editorial, technology, and marketing resources, bringing the benefits of more original content and better site performance to readers of both iAfrica and Africa.com.”

Laura Joseph Africa.com’s MD, adds: “We are fusing a legendary African news portal with an innovative and dynamic management team under one umbrella. With combined resources, we will continue to make each site better and better.”

According to the statement, Africa.com has already started its re-branding of the iAfrica.com news portal.

“Africa.com is known for its creative content in the form of slideshows, videos, and infographics, and we will bring these content forms to iAfrica,” notes Debra Winter, COO of Africa.com.

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Konga Acquires 2 Mega Warehouses in Abuja, PH

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Konga, Nigeria’s e-commerce giant, is set to roll out two mega warehouses in Abuja and Port Harcourt next month, in line with its ambition to take e-commerce in Nigeria to the next level, ensure same day delivery to its teeming customers and accommodate first rate merchants.

 

The Abuja warehouse which is centrally located and about 78,000 square feet in size will serve the Northern region while that of Port Harcourt which is about 147,000 square feet will function as a major hub for the South/South and South Eastern parts of the country.

 

While the newly refurbished warehouse in Lagos is expected to serve Lagos and other Western states, new warehousing facilities are also being developed in Owerri, Enugu, Ibadan and Uyo to bring the Konga brand closest to customers and merchants as it plans to roll out same day delivery and relaunch Pay On Delivery in major cities.

 

Described as the first of its kind on this side of the Atlantic, the warehouses have been certified by global IT warehousing/logistics agencies as best in class in Africa and equipped with state-of-the-art security, automation and Cloud infrastructure.

Both warehouses, highly secure structures and comprehensively insured by a leading insurance company, will provide much-needed and in demand storage spaces for Konga’s growing merchants, enabling these partners who sell on Konga’s platform to stock their goods for instant access and order fulfilment to customers.

 

In addition, the warehouses will go a long way in helping Konga carry out physical inspection of product quality, achieve same day delivery and meet global standards in e-commerce.

 

Nick Imudia, chief executive officer (CEO) Online, noted that the set-up of the warehouses and upgrading of our technologies some of the many innovative strategies the company is unveiling to uplift standards in the e-commerce sector.

 

“At Konga, we are passionate about customer satisfaction. With these warehouses in Abuja and Port Harcourt, our customers will enjoy the added luxury of same day delivery of their items irrespective of their locations within the regions. For our merchants, it is also a chance to take advantage of greater storage capacity for their goods and products, allowing them to do larger volumes and grow their business.

 

“We are constantly working round the clock behind the scenes to set new standards and raise the bar of service excellence in the e-commerce industry. Some of our innovations and world-class strategies are gradually being unveiled and these massive warehousing facilities are one of such innovations. More of them will be unveiled in August and the coming months,” he enthused.

 

Widely renowned for genuine products, secure payment options and swift delivery, Konga is keen to revolutionize the e-commerce space in Nigeria and beyond – a factor that has seen the new management of the company working hard behind the scenes to leverage its composite structure and fusion of online and offline in ensuring an unprecedented level of world class customer experience, improved standards and growth in the Nigerian and African e-commerce eco-system.

 

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TFhost Bags Best Local Hosting Company of the Year

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TFhost, the leading Domain Name registrar and Hosting Service Company emerges as the best local hosting company in Nigeria for the year 2018.

 

This award meant for companies physically hosting websites and domains in Nigeria, was given at a gala dinner hosted by Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) at Celebration Garden, Ikeja, Lagos on Friday, July 6, 2018,

 

The Nigerian Internet Registrars Associations (NiRA) .ng Awards is aimed at celebrating the achievements and innovation of Nigerian Internet initiatives. The awards are also aimed in rewarding creativity and showcasing ingenuity among industries.

 

Other than emerging as the best local hosting company of the year, TFhost was also recognized for innovation and creativity by the public which led to the nomination of the following awards.

 

TFhost four awards categories nomination includes,

  • .ng company of the Year
  • Best Local Hosting company
  • Most Innovative Service Provider online
  • Startup Company of the year.

 

TFhost offers Nigerians and the world premium, affordable, fast, local hosting services which includes; domain names, virtual private servers, cloud servers, web hosting, web security, and cloud solutions.

 

According to Mr. Chibuike Duru, manager, TFhost “TFhost has redefined the hosting Landscape in Nigeria for good and will continue to exceed the high expectations that will follow this award. TFhost promises to uphold high standards and continue to bring to the public the best hosting services.”

 

TFhost is a division of Trefoil Networks Limited. TFhost provides domain name registration, web hosting, and website design services.

 

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