Thursday, 17 October 2013




I. Today, our strive and commitment to work for a greater Nigeria has brought us here for the launch of an Enrolment Exercise for the Issuance of a National Identification Number (NIN). The importance of 'PROOF OF IDENTITY' documentation as a critical social infrastructure for national development cannot be overemphasised.

2. Unfortunately, valuable time and resources expended in the past, at delivering an effective identity platform have been meeting with limited success. As we recalibrate our efforts, we must avoid the pitfalls of the past, and stay focused on the achieving results. This explains why I set up a Committee chaired by the Vice President, to fashion the modalities required to institute a central demographic database.

3. The Committee has recommended that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the National Population Commission (NPC), despite their separate obligations, need to work more closely, to complement each other and help deliver urgently a comprehensive centralized national database.

4. The video we have just seen is a commendable proof that this harmonization and integration programme is in progress.

5. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Nigeria cannot be an exception to the global trend towards Identity Management and Centralised National Identity Database. Already, there is a growing quest for specific database and identity verification by several government institutions and private sector organizations in our country.

6. Aside from being unwieldy, the cost of operating multiple discordant databases and infrastructure is unsustainable. Government cannot afford the continued proliferation of data capture activities. The proliferation does not grant any advantage in efficiency, neither does it make .of good economic sense.

7. The growing identity verification needs, therefore calls for harmonization and integration of Identity Databases and the development of a universal service infrastructure.

8. To achieve this goal, the National Identity Management Commission should ensure that by December 3I, 2014 all persons eligible for registration as provided for in section 16 of the National Identity Management Commission. NIMC Act No. 23, of 2007 are enrolled into the National Identity Database. By this same date, all government agencies requiring identity verification and authentication services or involved in data capture activities must align their activities with a view to switching over to the NIMC infrastructure.

9. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Finance must ensure that these objectives, which are aimed at streamlining biometrically-linked databases and optimizing scarce resources, are accomplished on record time.

10. While Government remains committed to the accelerated development of the National Identity Management System (NIMS), the private sector must also rise up to its role. Corporate operators must seize the unique opportunities provided by the Concession Agreement,  to make investments in. the  Scheme.

11. Private sector participation would mean extended optimization of resources typically devoted to addressing issues of PROOF OF IDENTITY across the nation. It would also mean seamless integration and use of a common facility for identity verification and authentication, in both the public and private sectors.

12. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, if the work of law enforcement officers is to be enhanced; if consumer credit is to be accessible; if we are to reduce the cost of managing the Naira cash component currently estimated at N 192bn per annum; if we are to reduce the amount of currency in circulation currently put at N 1.93tn; if we are to achieve a multiple pronged approach to the fight against corruption; and finally, if we are to introduce social security or welfare payments, then we must, first and foremost, establish and verify appropriately, the identities of individuals.

13. An ascend able and flexible system that provides for expansion and upgrading in line with technological advances is a necessary infrastructure that we must be equipped with, to meet our contemporary goals in building our Nation.

14. The Management of NIMC must now drive this important project with all the seriousness it deserves. We must move deftly to discount time lost so far, failure is not an option.

15. I am aware of the challenges facing the Commission, especially in recent times, not least from public cynicism and unfavourable perception of the identity sector, stemming from the wasted efforts of the past.

16. Even though both cards are important components of the National Identity Management System (NIMS) it is important that there's continued education about their varied applications.

17. I look forward to the scheduled formal launch/presentation of the National Identity Smart Card. I believe that the assets and experience of this exercise will advance the work of the National Population Commission, especially in its planned biometric Census which is scheduled for 2016.

18. Ladies and gentlemen, on this important note, it is my honour and privilege to formally launch the enrolment exercise for the issuance of the NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER, THE NIN - remember that 'THE NUMBER IS YOUR IDENTITY, ENROL ONCE AND BE IDENTIFIED FOR LIFE'.

19. I thank you.

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