Magnus Eze, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said the Federal Government was committed to registering 50million Nigerians in the National Identity Scheme by December this year with chances of raising the figure by 20million by the end of 2019. About 30million people have so far been enrolled in the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) data base since its inception.
Declaring open the 4th annual electronic identity summit for Africa, tagged “ID4Africa 2018,” in Abuja, Buhari said that identity harmonisation was very critical to the socio-economic development of the region.
According to the World Bank Group 2017 report, with increased access to identification, over 38 million Africans could open their first bank accounts upon receiving proper documentation. It also stated that a total value of $800 million in social safety net programmes will benefit the citizenry from improved targeting and management; while 4.4 million refugees and stateless persons in sub-Saharan Africa could also have access to better protection and humanitarian assistance. Represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, the President stated that government recognised the imperative of digital identity in the implementation of its
Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), law enforcement, intelligence and political development.
While stating that developed countries had adopted identity as a tool for transformation of governance and service delivery in areas such as transportation, financial inclusion, immigration, healthcare, social safety nets, agriculture, security and so on; Buhari reaffirmed government’s resolve to develop an integrated system to ascertain that any person in Nigeria is who he claims to be.
“Digital identity can transform the efficiency of safety nets with electronic cash transfers; track immunisation of children and delivery of health care to citizens; issuance of driver’s licenses linked to a digital identity registry and track border control and issue passports linked to a digital identity registry.
“The inclusion of the provision of legal identity for all as a Sustainable Development Goal also reflects its importance as a global development issue,” he stated. The President also expressed the hope that the National Identity Number would be used to enhance democratic process in Africa in the near future.
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