Citizens’ Identification Goes Digital As Nigeria Dumps Plastic ID Cards

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The Federal government has dumped the card-based version of national identification and registration of citizens for a strictly digital approach.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, made this known in Abuja to state house correspondents on Thursday August 13, after he met with the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami and President Buhari for a meeting.

Aregbesola, Pantami and the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engineer Aliyu A. Aziz, had met with the President to submit the report of the Committee on Citizens Data Management and Harmonisation which was presided over by Aregbesola.

Speaking after the report submission, the Interior Minister said the new direction in citizen identification will include individual DNA samples, adding that the card-based would merely be for convenience.

“The card is just for convenience. The real thing is the number you have, with that number you are on the databank, everything about you is there. We are just upgrading it such that your DNA too will be there very soon.

Even if you are in a car, I will know if you are the one in the car with your DNA, it’s already captured. You are already captured, you cannot run away anymore,” he explained.

Giving further explanation, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Pantami, said the attention of the program would no longer be cards’ production, but strengthening the digital platform.

“What the chairman is saying now is that we are no more talking about cards, the world has gone digital, so that card is no more. Our priority now is digital ID; it will be attached to your database wherever you are.

So if you can memorize it by heart, wherever you go that central database domiciled with NIMC will be able to provide the number and every of your data will be provided.

Now, our focus is no longer on producing cards, that card is only for record but what is important is that the digital ID and if you notice we have started using the digital ID on international passport. Once you have the digital ID but not the card, we are 100 percent done with you,” Pantami said.

On his part, the Director-General of NIMC, Engr. Aziz, noted that the production of identification cards is strenuous as well as streaming the nation’s foreign exchange out of the country. He said, “With your national ID you are already identified, in the US is called social security number, the same with UK and… they can control more than 1.3 billion people in about seven minutes.

“So we have found that this card is strenuous, it is forex that is going out of the country and we are in 21st century and that is why we are focusing on national identification number and other identifications by other agencies have been linked to NIMC.”

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