14 February 2013

Nigeria: New National Identification System Will Tackle Insecurity, Kidnapping

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has urged Nigerians to key into the national identification number scheme, saying the new system will tackle insecurity and kidnapping in the country.

It also said at least 100 million people are expected to be registered in the next 30 months.

Speaking at a stakeholders' forum in Sokoto, the Commission's Director-General, Mr. Chris Onyemenam, said the call became necessary, in view of security threats, especially kidnapping, bombing and robbery attacks across the country.

According to him, having a good identity system, would go a long way in flushing out all sorts of criminality in the nation.

Onyemenam, who was represented by the Deputy Director-General of the Commission, Mr. Aliyu Azzez, maintained that the need to create a single national identity database for all Nigerians was borne out of the need to tackle insecurity and improve good governance.

"As you are aware, the nation is currently facing security challenges and other social issues. So, we believe that with the new identity system, criminals would be easily tracked and arrested," he said.

He decried that about 75 per cent of identity documents are fake and self issued, adding that there was no means of authenticating documents in the country. He emphasised that with the new identity system, the commission would provide a way for verification and authentication of data.

The NIMC boss pointed out that in the past, the commission focused on issuing identity cards, saying the current dispensation would lay emphasis on management of identity. He explained that people need only to enroll once for life unlike the previous system, adding that the new technology has a microchip in the system.

He stressed that the national identity card would soon be made mandatory in order to carry out transaction in the banks, voting and issuance of international passport.

"We will create one national identity database for all Nigerians with their unique numbers. We will issue them a smart card which could be used for voting, banking transactions and as a payment solution," the DG stressed.

The Director-General said the modern economy needs a secure identity system, adding that the registration exercise would be carried out at the state offices of NIMC and subsequently in all the local government councils.

Also speaking, the Speaker of Sokoto House of Assembly, Alhaji Lawali Zayyana, said the importance of identity system could not be over-emphasised. He called on people of the state to avail themselves of the opportunity to obtain the national identification number from the state offices of NIMC.

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