Following a recent directive by the federal government that all ministries, departments and agencies of government must align their activities and infrastructure with that of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in order to complete the ongoing registration process of national identity card, the Director-General of NIMC, Dr. Chris Onyemenam, has said the MDAs are in full compliance.
He said over three million Nigerians have registered for the exercise since registration commenced in October this year.
Onyemenam who dropped the hint in Lagos at a three-day Card, ATM and Mobile Expo, organised by Intermarc Consulting, said the affected agencies were already compliant with the directive and was optimistic that the December deadline given by the federal government for the completion and launch of the national identity card would be feasible.
"There is a presidential directive that the identity card project be completed and launched by December this year. It is a policy statement and we are all bound by it.
"According to the directive, all federal agencies that are involved in data capture services and also have identity and authentication need, should align their activities and infrastructure, with a view to switching over to NIMC's infrastructure," Onyemenam said.
Explaining further, he said: "The objective of the directive in my opinion is in two folds. Firstly to optimise the use of scarce resources at that level, which is dedicated to identity management, and secondly to ensure that there are no duplication of efforts to enable fast establishment of a national identity database."
The value proposition from this is enormous, be it in terms of security or financial services, deepening access to credit facilities and reducing dependence on cash among others, he said.
Giving details of the level of development towards issuing Nigerians, electronic identity cards that come with a unique national identification number (NIN), Onyemenam said the cards have been harmonised, connectivity infrastructure is in place, and that the commission is currently in the process of data capturing of every Nigerian and Nigerian citizen.
Onyemenam who was optimistic that the process would lead to building and increasing a national database for Nigeria, advised all Nigerians to visit the nearest NIMC registration centres and be part of the capturing exercise.
Addressing how the card will be effective in reducing financial fraud in the country, Onyemenam said it comes with three biometrics authentication that make it more secure and safe to use as identity card, and as debit card like the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card.
He listed the authentication to include finger print, facial recognition and another authentication, which he said, would make it extremely difficult for unathorised persons to have access to it through hacking.
"We have tried to build public key infrastructure into the cards that make global best practice, thereby making the card more secured and it comes with 19 different security features," Onyemenam said.
He explained that measures were in place to avoid non-Nigerians and non-Nigerian citizens from getting registered and messing up the entire system.
"We know that there are tendencies for non-Nigerians to get registered, but we have put some measures is place that will actually identify Nigerians and Nigerian citizens," Onyemenam said, adding that several NIMC staff have been trained for the purpose.
Delivering a paper on the 'Role of Identity Management in the Nation' at the Card, ATM and Mobile Expo, Onyemenam said the new identity management scheme would help build a national database for the country, where data of every Nigerian is stored and easily accessed