The federal government has directed all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) engaging in biometric registrations or data capturing activities to align their activities with a view to switching over to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) infrastructure by December 31, 2014.
Giving this directive in a circular with reference number 59803/VII/87, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, mandated the MDAs to comply with this directive in order to honour President Goodluck Jonathan’s earlier directive to the commission to register all eligible persons into the national identity database by the end of this year.
More importantly, Anyim reminded the MDAs that NIMC had the statutory responsibility to “create, manage, maintain and operate the national identity database, including harmonisation and integration of existing identification in government agencies and integrating them into the national identity database.”
This, according to him, followed establishment of the commission by the federal government in 2007 by the NIMC Act of 2007 as the primary institutional framework for managing and reforming the national identity sector in Nigeria
The circular dated May 28 and titled: ‘Guidelines on the Implementation of the Presidential Directive on the Alignment of Data Capture, Identity Verification and Authentication Activities in Government Ministries, Department and Agencies,’ was addressed to all ministers/ministers of state and their permanent secretaries, chairmen and directors-general of federal government parastatals, agencies and government-owned companies as well as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), amongst others.
According to Anyim, to achieve the December 31, 2014 target date, the Harmonisation and Integration Implementation Committee in NIMC had been constituted with membership drawn from the Office of the SGF, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Communications Technology.
The SGF enjoined all MDAs to note: “NIMC shall have the primary responsibility to deliver the processes and procedures for achieving a seamless integration of its National Identity Management System (NIMS), infrastructure with existing infrastructures of other agencies within the timeframe set by government. This shall include without exception, all data capture related activities, development of database, identity authentication and verification, card issuance activities and related infrastructure.
He added that they should also note: “Henceforth, all identity database-related projects and procurements, especially as they relate to data capture, development of databases, identity authentication and verification and related identity management infrastructure/issues shall be validated against the harmonisation and integration programme in view of the set deadline of December 31, 2014 to ensure seamless and timely compliance with the directive within this transition period;
In the same vein, he pointed out: “The Office of the SGF through the Governing Board of NIMC shall ensure periodic evaluation of progress report and convene review meetings as appropriate.”
Besides, he said: “Government will monitor closely the implementation of this harmonisation and integration programme so that at the appropriate time, Government will publish the commencement date for the mandatory use of the National Identification Number (NIN), in line with Section 27 of the NIMC Act No. 23 of 2007.”