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Over 2.4bn Africans, Asians don’t have official identity –NCC

By Olabisi Olaleye

Over 2.4 billion citizens who reside in Asia, Africa and Nigeria do not have official identity that is not trackable to events or actions.

Nigerian Communications Commission’s Director Public Affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo gave this hint in Lagos on Monday at the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) during the commission’s Annual Second Directors Conference and Heads, Public Relations.

Speaking on the theme: “Trackable Identity and Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria,” Ojobo said: “Citizen registration is now an item in post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda with 2.4 billion people identified as having no official identity and these people reside in Africa and Asia.”

He explained that it was against this background that all telecommunications operators have been given a mandate by the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission to either disconnect or disallow fraudulent calls from their network or be faced with heavier sanctions.

He emphasised that the Commission would no longer condole non compliance and as such would mete out necessary sanctions to erring operators.

“When we talk about 150 million subscribers, we are talking in terms of Subscribers Identity Module(SIM) because of data records. And one of the reasons we emphasise on SIM registration is to be able to curb crimes.. Some operators who are fond of selling pre registered SIMs have also been warned on the implications and sanctions whenever it comes to our notice.

“Trackable identity is our ability to identify an individual through some natural /physiological features like photographs or marks and other characteristics.

“The scope of Trackable identity is being widened within the digital world to include tracking objects with applications of tags that could be linked to a mobile phone or other devices,” he said.

The DPA further explained the emphasis on SIM registration‎ is basically because biometrics Identity is also more reliable inlinking individual to events and actions.

Said he: “It is therefore preferred by security institution to fight crimes. In Nigeria, the project of citizen registration and identification has been a long and tortious journey worsened by lack of harmonised birth registration, which are non existent in most cases.”

Ojobo identified Trackable means to include SIM card registration, National Health Insurance Scheme, DNA, international passport, BVN, voters card but was quick to point that even with these, data are not yet hamonised unlike developed countries with a centre for data registry for all citizen.

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