Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, says under his supervision, the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has been able to register nearly 90 million citizens for the national identification number (NIN).
Pantami spoke on Friday at an event to mark the country’s fourth identity day in Abuja.
He said before NIMC was put under his ministry’s purview, it only had about 40 million citizens registered in its database, but it has been able to increase the number to about 90 million by enforcing the law.
“Looking back from three years ago, the National Identity Management Commission had managed under challenging conditions, to achieve an enrollment figure of nearly 90 million enrollments for the country,” the minister said.
“NIMC could not have achieved this quantum leap without the support and encouragement of Mr. President, who also gave approval for the improved condition of service for staff of the commission. Of course, it was Mr. President who gave approval for 16 September to become an Identity Day for Nigeria.
“That underscores his commitment to national digital identity to ensure digital inclusion for all citizens.
“While we celebrate the achievements that Nigeria has recorded in the digital space and especially in digital identification, in the last few years under President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, we are however, mindful of the gaps remaining to be filled for us to ensure that every citizen of Nigeria and every legal resident in our country is enrolled and issued the NIN.”
Pantami said the traditional rulers have a major role to play in making sure more citizens enroll for NIN.
According to him, traditional rulers and other traditional institutions in “our country have key and critical roles to play in mediating, stimulating, mobilising and rallying our people, in the rural, semi-urban and even urban areas, to embrace enrolment to obtain their NIN”.
“While traditional rulers and our monarchs are the custodians of the traditional institutions in the homelands, all of us who are in the cities are from one rural area, one community or the other; and, our respect for our traditional rulers remains unshakeable,” he added.
On his part, Aliyu Aziz, director-general of NIMC, said his organisation has grown under the supervision of Pantami.
He said the commission has increased its centres to over 15,000 from just 1,000 centres across the country.
“Without sounding immodest, NIMC has made great strides on so many fronts in the last three years. From just over 1,000 enrollment centres and 2,000 enrollment devices across the country, NIMC in partnership with its licensed enrolment partners now has over 15,000 enrolment centres and over 29,000 enrolment devices deployed nationwide,” Aziz said.
“This is one of the reasons enrollments have increased tremendously with over 89 million NINs generated successfully.”