Lack of funds tied to recession is currently slowing the production and issuance of the national electronic identification card being handled by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
Out of the 18.5 million enrolments and registrations made since 2012, when the project began, NIMC has only been able to issue 1.2 million cards.
The Director-General of NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, in an interaction with journalists, said lack of funds, and the economic recession affected the plans of the Commission greatly.
“NIMC actually embarked on an enrolment strategy in 2012, which has grown exponentially since 2015. In 2016, the Commission registered 14 million Nigerians for the National Identity Number (NIN), and the electronic Identification card (eID). The figure grew to 18.5 million currently, but we hoped to have registered about 28 million by the end of the year,” he stated.
Aziz, who was silent about the fund required to complete the project, said NIMC established enrolment centres in 809 locations (556 LGAs, 36 states and 215 Special Centres) across the nation.
While urging Nigerians to ensure they enrol and register at any of the designated centres, Aziz, an engineer, disclosed that any Nigerian without the National Identification Number (NIN) issued by the Commission runs the risk of being regarded as a non-Nigerian citizen. He stressed that the NIN is more important than the eID card.
“It is the duty of every citizen to enrol and obtain his or her National Identification Number, which entitles one to be fully regarded as a Nigerian citizen. Without the NIN anyone’s claims of being a Nigerian citizen are doubtful; that is what the NIMC Act stipulates,” he stated.
Reeling out the many benefits of the NIN, Aziz said: “one person one identity enhances participation in the political process, important tool for fight against corruption and terrorism, enables citizens to exercise their rights, and facilitates management of subsidies and safety net payments such as apply to Internal Displaced Persons.”
Other benefits of the NIN are that it facilitates service delivery in Ministries, Departments and Agencies; enhances the work of the law enforcement agencies thereby providing public safety, policing, national security and border protection, helps launder Nigeria’s image, elimination of ghost and multiple identities, and enhances ability of citizens to assert their identity.
While soliciting the support of the media for improved and positive coverage, Aziz listed the key challenges the Commission faces in the execution of its mandate and targets to include lack of funds; poor staff remuneration, which he claims lead to constant loss of strategic human resources.