The Vice President , Yemi Osinbajo gave the charge to NIMC at the Policy Roundtable Meeting on Identity Management at the State House Conference Center, Abuja.
Osinbajo who was represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS) to the President, Ade Ipaye, said “the fiscal cost of implementing disparate and unconnected biometrics linked data bases is increasingly becoming a huge burden and needs to be streamlined going forward, as government cannot continue to fund the unnecessary duplication of efforts and overlapping identity functions that further deplete it’s scarce resources.
“Clearly, there are potentially large benefits from integration of the ID programmes of our government institutions. And we must take this advantage to get it right once and for all.
“As we endeavour to resolve the identity management system challenges, we will also ensure that other forms of identification such as Driver’s licence, international passports and so on are aligned and in sinc.
“The President has already taken the initiative in recognising the importance of identity and a harmonized system. That is why there was a directive from my office in December of 2015 for all stakeholders to have built independent identity management systems.
“Stakeholders could have built independent identity management system to consolidate, aggregate and integrate their data bases as a way to accelerate and scale up the national identity system so as to offer every Nigerian a unique identifier.
“I am aware that a lot of work has been done in this regard by all the stakeholders represented here. However, it is his Excellency the president’s charge that the national identification number is used to authenticate eligible voters in the nearest future as well as in the areas of access to health, insurance, registration of sim cards, access to the social welfare programmes of this administration and for all financial transactions.”
However, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) had declared that this could be done within 24 months if only it raised sufficient funds of up to N5 billion from relevant agencies like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
It would also need Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) from banks.
Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, noted that Nigeria was lagging behind with regards to population exposure and level of civilization, lamenting that one year his registration, he was yet to collect his national ID from NIMC.
He therefore urged NIMC to set timeline to harmonise identity management in the country, and must be in the vanguard of pushing for legislation for identity management.