The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has urged security agencies to leverage the national identity database during criminal investigations. Mr Pantami said this at the Identity Day celebration held in Abuja on Friday.
“We have sanitised our database and we are pleading with our security institutions to make use of this database,” he said.
“It is not our work to do the security work, our work is to support them. The two databases are available for NIN and SIM,” he added.
He said both the NIMC and NCC claimed that the utilisation of the data has been highly insignificant.
“It is because of this we are pleading that if they can leverage on this, we have no doubt they will be able to address the significant challenges of security we are being confronted with,” he said.
In 2019, the federal government approved the recognition and observance of 16 September as National Identity Day in Nigeria. The choice of the date (16.9) is highly symbolic, as it is in commemoration of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16.9 which calls for the provision of legal identities for all by 2030, including birth registration. The government, through the National Identity Management Commission, is championing the movement for the declaration of International Identity Day.
Speaking on the importance of valid identity, Mr Pantami said it would help in planning and provision of basic amenities in the country.
“The world population is increasing but efforts by African countries to ensure proper identification of citizens is below average.
“Without proper identification, planning for basic amenities and budgets for citizens will be difficult,” he said.
He called on institutions to encourage citizens to embrace enrolment to ensure that the remaining population that has not enrolled is fully covered.
“We have grown the database, every month we do have 2 to 3 million enrollees. Still, these 89 million enrollees are mainstream people, there are people in the market, villages, nooks and crannies that have not been enrolled,” he said.
He said the focus of the Identity Day celebration is to drum up awareness, and support from rural dwellers. He also urged prospective enrollees to always input correct data during registration to save costs.
Mr Aziz said the Commission has developed multiple ways to tackle infrastructural challenges. In December 2021, NIMC said there were about 71 million NINs with over 14,000 enrolment centres across the country. Earlier in the year, the NIMC said the commission’s database was at 80 per cent of its capacity with over 80 million unique NINs issued.