Connect with us

E-Business

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

Published

on

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.

NIMC new.jpg

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.

NATIONAL-IDENTITY.jpg

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.

National ID.jpg

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

E-Business

Millions Exposed in Facebook Data Protection Failures

Published

on

Passwords of millions of Facebook users were accessible by up to 20,000 employees of the social network, it has been reported.

 

Brian Krebs, Security researcher, broke the news about data protection failures, which saw up to 600 million passwords stored in plain text.

 

The passwords that were exposed could date back to 2012, he said.

 

In a statement, Facebook said it had now resolved a “glitch” that had stored the passwords on its internal network.

 

In a detailed expose, Mr Krebs said a Facebook source had told him about “security failures” that had let developers create applications that logged and stored the passwords without encrypting them.

 

Commenting on Mr Krebs’s story Facebook engineer, Scott Renfro said an internal investigation started after Facebook had uncovered the logs had not revealed any “signs of misuse”.

 

In public comments, Facebook said it had discovered the issue in January as part of a routine security review.

 

And its investigation showed that most of the people affected were users of Facebook Lite, which tends to be used in nations where net connections are sparse and slow.

 

“We estimate that we will notify hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users,” the company told Reuters.

 

But it added it would enforce a password re-set only if its taskforce looking into the issue uncovered abuse of the login credentials.

 

The news caps a long period of trouble for Facebook over the way it handles and protects user data.

 

In September last year, it said information on 50 million users had been exposed by a security flaw.

 

And earlier in 2018 it revealed that data on millions of users had been harvested by data science company Cambridge Analytica.

Continue Reading

E-Business

Konga Rated in Top League of Globally Viable Start-Ups

Published

on

E-commerce giant Konga has emerged among an exclusive list of globally viable start-ups and corporate organizations after achieving top scores in a rating by Early Metrics, an European based independent rating agency for start-ups and innovative SMEs.

 

The rating places Konga in a rarefied club of the top 14% of the 2,100 startups rated globally as at March 2019, further justifying the elevated standing of the company as one of the most promising ventures in the Nigerian and African business space.

 

A European-based global rating agency, Early Metrics assesses the growth potential of innovative and early-stage ventures. Their ratings support decision makers such as investors and corporates to identify innovative start-ups worthy of their time and money.

 

Their ratings also help the organizations themselves, as it allows them to critically examine their strengths and weaknesses, gain credibility and give their investors added confidence by being audited by a third party.

 

Konga, acquired by the Zinox Group about 12 months ago, has been undergoing strategic restructuring and expansion to position it as the first and largest Omni – channel e-Commerce group on the African continent.

 

Continue Reading

E-Business

NITDA says Only 4.7% of Nigerian Govt. Institutions Use IT Effectively

Published

on

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has criticised government institutions for underutilising enterprise technology saying only 4.7 per cent of federal institutions use IT “in somewhat effective manner”.

In contrast, over 66 per cent of such institutions are at what the agency called “emerging stage” of IT utilisation, maintaining only websites “offering basic information online”.

The agency, which is responsible for formulating and supervising government’s IT policies, bemoans the low compliance with modern technology by government ministries and agencies.

NITDA’s director general, Isa Pantami, however said with the presentation of Nigerian Government Enterprise Architecture (NGEA) framework to stakeholders yesterday, the agency is setting the tune to changing the current reality.

He sought the support of the stakeholders, arguing that “public institutions for a big critical enterprise that must be managed efficiently to ensure its resources including IT are maximized to create value for stakeholders given the prevailing political, legal and administrative contexts.”

Mr Pantami, who was represented at the event by NITDA’s director of e-Government Development and Regulation, Vincent Olatunji, however, acknowledged improvement in IT systems of some public institutions which, he said, however, come with other challenges.

He listed some of the challenges to include inefficient IT environment, poor interoperability of IT systems, poor information sharing across agencies, maintenance of unnecessary multiple sites and unstandardized communication channels.

Other challenges he outlined are high cost of IT investments and poor sustainability of IT projects by host institutions.

“In addition to the previous challenges mentioned, ICT adoption and implementation in Nigeria naturally faces a lot of challenges ranging from inadequate basic infrastructure such as electricity, broadband and other digital technologies to insufficient human capital and the required skills in the public sector effectively implement and utilise ICT solutions.

“We also have unfriendly and weak institutions; inadequacy of finance for ICT projects as a result of competing demands and inability to properly align government businesses and ICT deployment, among others,” he said.

Mr Pantami said the implication of those challenges on the sector resulted in the inability of public institutions to fully translate national or organisational visions, policies and programmes into effective enterprise change and add value.

“This has prevented IT, to some extent, from becoming an asset shaping strategic future opportunities of public institutions and the government as a whole,” he said.

The official, however, commended ICT adoption as exemplified by the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), Government Information Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), Bank Verification Number (BVN), e-Taxation, e-Passport and e-Wallet system for farmers.

In his presentation on the draft NGEA document, Soji Adegunwa of Goldberry Systems Ltd said enterprise architecture is a recommended technology system that is being accepted by governments all over the world.

He said the adoption and harmonisation would help the government reduce costs in IT investment, as it cuts multiplicity and allows for collaboration.

He said with common platforms, there will be a reduction of “administrative headache” among agencies.

Mr Adegunwa also allayed fears of government institutions saying the technology is only making things more efficient without “taking powers away.”

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Communication Week Media Limited.