The Director-General, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr Aliyu Aziz, has stressed the need to overcome the identity harmonization challenges facing the country.
Aziz stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday on the sideline of the 4th Annual Meeting of the ID4Africa Movement in Abuja, Hosted by NIMC.
The director-general identified qualitative leadership and the establishment of harmonization committee as a pre requisite to overcoming the challenges.
According to Aziz, the 4th annual conference theme is on “Harmonization of Identity Schemes” in response to one of the most frequently debated topics of the 3th annual forum in 2017.
“NIMC operates and regulates matters of national identity in Nigeria with services covering National Identification Number (NIN) enrolment and issuance.
“Others include National e-ID card issuance, identity verification as well as data harmonization and authentication.”
He said that Nigeria as a global player and a developing nation, was working towards leveraging on digital identity as a reliable tool for uniquely identifying its citizens and accelerating socio-economic development.
He lamented the huge cost being incurred in identity management of different sectors in Nigeria in response to their peculiar needs.
Aziz said that the duplication of efforts have led to uncoordinated identity approach, as well as unreliable identity information due to lack of interoperability and disconnected databases.
He said NIMC was tasked with the responsibility to ensure absolute integrity and security of this information.
“As a nation, we have an interoperable and connected system to verify that each person or beneficiary is who he claims to be.
“Our strategic plans, as a government in the area of identification scheme must therefore converge to make harmonization and integration of the existing and new databases a reality,” he said.
The NIMC boss said that the legal framework states that the National Identification Number (NIN) must be presented in any government related services which calls for cohesion and allows the NIMC to be the core identity management agency.
He added that the linkages between agencies such as the birth and death agencies would be an advantage.
He disclosed that the introduction of the use of iris of an individual would be a new way of identification from birth to death.
According to him, any database that cannot be verified will not be used thus; verification is always ongoing.
He, however, said verification and authentication of the NIN number would be in the commission but other services like capturing data would be done by other agencies.
He disclosed that an exponential growth in the data base of the NIMC to about 30 million was as a result of the Smart Card which has 18 security features.
According to him, as a nation, we recognise the huge importance of moving towards a Digital Government.
“Therefore, we must embrace and harness the potentials inherent in digital identity to build and develop our country.
“Nations all over the world and in particular, developed countries have utilized identity as a foundation to transform governance and enhanced service delivery in the areas of healthcare, agriculture, voting, transportation, financial inclusion, access to basic service and welfare programmes,” he said.