The Director-General (DG) of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Aliyu Abubakar Aziz, has again stressed the importance of the National Identification Number (NIN) as a most crucial feature in the lives people, being the unique identifier for all.
He therefore strongly advised Nigerians and residents in the country to regard its importance and get registered to obtain their NIN.
Aziz, who gave the advice in Abuja at the weekend, said Nigerians should view the NIN the same way Social Security Number is regarded in the United States, the National Insurance Number in the United Kingdom, or AADHAR number in India.
"What is common in all the countries I mentioned is just the number. Therefore, you need a unique NIN from cradle to grave," he said.
The NIMC boss advised Nigerians and residents to present themselves to be enrolled for the NIN to avoid the usual rush that may arise with enforcement of the mandatory use of NIN for transactions and access to services as stipulated in NIMC Act of 2007, Section 27.
Aziz noted that "by law and along the entire lifecycle of individuals in Nigeria, you need to present your NIN whenever you need to be identified for services such as passport issuance, banking services, land transactions, insurance services, pension, health insurance, payment of taxes, voter's registration, consumer credits, and all government services."
In an apparent reaction to questions and enquiries in some quarters where some Nigerians had asked whether the NIN is a temporary feature while the physical electronic Identity Card is yet to be issued, Aziz said: "In all these there's nothing temporary about the NIN slip issued after registration, because the NIN is your identity and is considered more important than the card."
In an earlier statement issued by the Head, Corporate Communications Unit of NIMC, Mr. Loveday Ogbonna, the NIMC boss explained the current focus of the Commission, which he said, was centered on the number - NIN and not the card.
According to him, "We are already in a digital economy driven by unique index numbers and not by physical tokens such as a card, though the law specified we should issue general multipurpose smart cards as the exercise continues."
He also explained that the Commission is mindful of the demands of the general public for the physical card and all hands are on deck to meet this enormous demand that has huge financial implication for the nation.
The statement gave indication of the number of NINs enrolled so far to be 23.3 million up from seven million in November 2015 when Aziz took over the mantle of leadership at NIMC.
The NIMC boss appealed to Nigerians to enrol, saying: "Please enrol for the NIN, encourage everyone you know to do same including children and legal residents as all other government agencies will follow soon and make their respective announcements on the mandatory use of the NIN."