Friday, 7 November 2014


 Resolving a National Challenge

Nigeria, with a population of over 160 million, has a long history of failures in finding an efficient and effective means of citizen identity management.

 This includes registering, populating, issuing a proof of identity, and most importantly updating and retrieving data of citizens and legal residents from a secure database, when needed.

A person’s proof of identity means a kind of reference which can be used to differentiate one unique individual from another. The usual impression is that it is just another ID card or piece of paper on which a person’s name is written.
Here in Nigeria we have various kinds of representation of an individual’s identity; unfortunately most of them can easily be duplicated, making it prone to all kinds of identity fraud e.g. identity theft (impersonation), the ghost worker syndrome, little or no opportunity for consumer credit market system etc, all these issues contribute to the lack of growth and development of the Nigerian economy.

Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s), collected data of Nigerian citizens into their different databases for various statutory responsibilities. This includes the former Department for National Civic Registration (DNCR), whose main responsibility was to capture data of every citizen in Nigeria, and issue a proof of identity in the form of a National identity card.  Unfortunately the scheme under the DNCR failed.

These shortcomings, have led the federal government to build a reliable and secure identity management system.

 This system consists of a centralised National Identity Database required to link multiple databases collected by the MDAs as mentioned above, in order to harmonize and integrate all private and public sector ID schemes thus achieving  a unified database.

"The most important thing about the NIMS is that it will provide a Universal Identification Infrastructure for the entire country"

The Federal Government thus established the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in 2007 as the only recognized, regulatory and corporate entity for carrying out government’s reform initiatives in the identity sector.

Part of the commission’s mandate is to establish, operate, maintain and manage the National Identity Management System which includes registering Nigerian citizens and legal residents, establishing and maintaining a National Identity Database as well as issuing of a Unique Identification Number and a General Multi-purpose Identity Card to all registered person aged 16 and above.

NIMC Act 2007 repealed the law that created the former DNCR and transfered its assets and liabilities to the NIMC. It later found out that it could not reuse most of those assets of the defunct DNCR.

It was in realisation of this objective that the National Identity Management System was established to address all Identity Management issues in Nigeria.

In essence, the National Identity Management System is a set of principles, processes and guidelines that are required in providing a valid and secure way of authenticating an individual’s identity. 

The execution of the  (NIMS) infrastructure requires creating a National Database which will unify and link all various existing Identification Schemes (IDS) and taking Identity Management Scheme in Nigeria to global standards using modern technology.

The NIMS comprises of a
      National Identity Database (also known as a Central Identity Repository or      Register, CIDR), a chip-based secure identity card, and a network of access and means to irrefutably prove or assert the identity of an individual.
Generation and Assignment of Unique National Identification Numbers to citizens and legal residents.
Production and issuance of a multipurpose National Identity Card to every registered person
Provide Identity Verification services platform
Harmonize and integrate existing Identity Databases in Government  Agencies
                    WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE NIMS?
  • Provide a convenient and simplified process for enrollment into the National Identity Database for the issuance and use of the National Identification Number (NIN) and the National Identity (smart) Card.
  • Help protect you from identity theft and fraud by providing a simple, reliable, sustainable and universally acceptable means of confirming your identity at all times
  • Make life easier by providing you with an easy and convenient   means of providing your identity anywhere in Nigeria and beyond.
  • Help reform our political process by facilitating the work of the managers of the electoral process
  • Make it harder for criminals to use false or multiple/duplicate/ghost        identities. this will help Government, through the enhanced performance of the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), to protect us all from crime, especially Advance Fee Fraud and terrorism
  • Reassure us all that civil/public servants are who they say they are, no ghost workers phenomenon again
  • Help us as a nation to better manage our national currency, achieve     financial inclusion and deepening of the Consumer Credit System, which will help to grow the economy, create employment opportunities and raise the standard of living of Nigerian
  • Help to harmonize and integrate identity databases in government agencies (and also in the private sector) and optimize use of government resources; so that service delivery is enhanced across the economy.
  • Promote and help to make tax and other government revenue generation processes easier because identities will be easy to prove
  • Help to launder Nigeria’s image because Nigerians can prove their identity.
 The most important thing about the NIMS project is that it will provide a Universal Identification Infrastructure for the entire country. This will help bring real and recognizable benefits to the Government, each of us - individually and collectively, and also for legal residents living in Nigeria.

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