The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has kicked off the registration of Nigerians resident in Germany.
The exercise, being carried out in collaboration with private data management companies, enrols Nigerians, including those living in the diaspora, in the country’s National Identity Database. A registered person is issued a National Identification Number (NIN), a unique set of eleven-digit number.
Kicking off the exercise in Berlin on Friday (23 August), Nigeria’s ambassador to Germany, HE Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, spoke on the importance of the NIN enrolment as it would enable the country’s diplomatic missions properly identify Nigerians. He also explained that the increasing mandatory use of NIN to access government services in Nigeria makes participation in the enrolment exercise further imperative.
The event, which took place in the chancery, officially also flagged off the operation of Biosec Solutions, one of the companies licensed by NIMC to carry out the enrolment on its behalf, in Germany.
In her speech, Alhaja Hadiza Ali Dagabana, General Manager Legal & Regulatory Services at the NIMC, thanked Ambassador Tuggar for allowing Biosec Solutions to operate its enrolment centre in the chancery.
NIN would in the near future become mandatory for processing all forms of transactions that involve submitting a verified identity in Nigeria, such as getting a driver’s license, voter’s card or even for opening a bank account, she explained.
Mrs Dagabana said the identity number issued to those registered belongs to them for life. “You are enroled once and identified for life.”
She further explained that even though the issuance of identity cards to those registered under the scheme would take time, the NIN given out to every enrolee already conferred on them “a digital identity”.
In her brief remarks, Mrs Habibat Eluameh, who represented Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), said her organisation fully supported the enrolment exercise which was why she came all the way from Nigeria to attend the event.
Kenneth Gbandi, chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE), which is partnering Biosec Solutions in the exercise in Europe, said: “We called on the federal government to involve the diaspora, we called for the participation of indigenous companies in the exercise.. and they have done all that. The ball is now in the court of the diaspora to participate enthusiastically in the exercise”.
Nigeria’s federal cabinet, at its meeting on 12 September 2018, approved the new National Digital Identity Ecosystem Strategic Roadmap for the enrolment of Nigerians and legal residents into the National Identity Database.
Early in the year, NIMC’s Director General, Engr Aliyu Aziz, said the Commission had a mandate to register all Nigerians and legal residents or at least over 95 per cent of the population within the next three years. The NIMC, to extend the registration exercise to Nigerians abroad, licensed private companies to collect citizens’ data, including biometrics, using guidelines issued by the Commission and through secure approved channels of communication, send such data to NIMC to generate NINs.
Two companies, Biosec Solutions and VFS Global, are currently carrying out the NIN enrolment in Germany. VFS opened a centre for the exercise in Frankfurt on 16 August.