National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) are currently working with security agencies to use the National Identity Numbers (NIN) and Subscribers Identity Modules (SIM) databases in tracking kidnappers and their victims, according to Abisoye Coker-Odusote, director general, NIMC.
Coker-Odusote, stated this Thursday in Abuja after declaring open stakeholder engagement in Nigeria Identification for Development Project (ID4D).
The NIMC however refused to speak on the details of how the collaboration witj NCC will work out but said some gaps had been identified and that efforts were on by major stakeholders to fix the gaps and address the nation’s security challenges.
Odusote said the identified loopholes were being plugged as NIMC and NCC were collaborating with security agencies to ensure infrastructures and other necessary information were properly harnessed to address the challenges.
Speaking through Mrs Ayobami Abiola, her technical assistant, the NIMC boss also said the essence of NIN for citizens was to reduce incidences of corruption and implement strategic development plans.
According to her, “countries that have completed their national identity databases have been able to deploy them for development and implement social security programmes successfully.”
Odusote also said “NIMC would strengthen relationships with key stakeholders to ensure that established functional structures across states, local government, ward, and community levels can make enrolment for NIN more accessible to the people.
“Following the ongoing reforms in NIMC, more vulnerable persons, especially persons with disabilities, would be captured in the national identity database as well as people who are in various Internally Displaced Persons camps in the country.”
While telling participants that the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration was worried over fragmented identity and the need for Nigeria to have a unified system, she said the administration remained committed to changing the narratives of national identity for all Nigerians.
“The President has expressed worry over our fragmented identity system which is causing the country huge losses in expenditure and has given us marching orders to ensure we integrate and unify our identity system.
“To match words with action, the President on assumption of office as Commander-in-Chief signed the Nigeria Data Protection Bill now Nigeria Data Protection Act. This was to provide the needed legal framework for the protection and privacy of the data of Nigerians and legal residents.
“The NIN is free and for everyone. At the NIMC, we frown at all forms of extortion and will ensure anyone found culpable of extorting any potential enrollee is made to bear the full weight of the law.
“Since my assumption of office as the DG of the NIMC, I have led several sting operations to enrolment and regional coordination centres across the country where some of our staff found extorting enrollees were handed over to law enforcement agents for prosecution.
“Aside from working to remove all impediments and barriers to enrolment for a national ID, we are working closely with the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project (NDID4) with support from the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), and European Investment Bank (EIB) in implementing series of sustainable and innovative reforms.
“The goal is to remove all current challenges and difficulties that people face in enrolling for IDs, fostering a robust, seamless, and more inclusive enrolment system where ID is provided for everyone, and no one is left behind.
“We are also committed to addressing the challenges and barriers that vulnerable individuals and groups, including women, persons with disabilities, IDPs and refugees face in obtaining the NIN which is needed to facilitate their access to critical services necessary for their well-being,” Odute said.
Speaking further, she said: “The NIMC is fashioning ways to clear the backlog of enrolment fees owed to enrolment partners and has also developed a robust business model to incentivise all partners particularly those who will be conducting enrolment in remote and hard-to-reach communities and locations.
“As we speak, over 300 representatives of the revalidated enrolment agents drawn from every part of Nigeria, are undergoing training on several aspects of the enrolment process including device management, reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities, effective communication, best practices in customer service and grievance management.
“This is to equip them with all necessary skills and information needed to help them interact well with applicants and integrate into communities they are commissioned to carry out enrolment.
“We will be working on amending the NIMC Act to ensure it is in consonance with the current digital realities to ease integration with other foundational ID agencies like the National Population Commission. We are also working tirelessly on upgrading the enrolment software and ensuring the training and retraining of all licensed enrolment partners. “