- Urged all stakeholders to join hands in ensuring the successful implementation of positive policies regarding national identity as it affects government social safety net and financial inclusion programmes
Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo says talks will soon begin among all relevant stakeholders in the national identity system to work out modalities on how to harmonise all the various identity systems for seamless and efficient service delivery in the country.
He said the discussion would involve all the relevant stakeholders concerned, ranging from the INEC, Banks, FRSC, NPC, Immigration, NCC etc with the NIMC as a statutory body empowered by law to achieve the target in no distant future.
The Minister disclosed this on Saturday and at the 5th Identity Day commemoration held at ICC, Abuja with the theme: Identity As Catalyst for Nigeria’s Development ” – Examining the Role of Identity in Key Government Programs of Social Safety Net, Financial Inclusion, promotion of Good Governance and Transparency.
He said the harmonization and management of national identity was what the country needed now as a major means of mitigating and controlling crime as well as for national development.
The event was the first one under the current administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and since the movement of the NIMC to the Ministry of Interior.
Ojo, who described the theme as a catalyst to Nigeria’s development underscored the importance of ID management on nation building, saying that identity remains key in the everyday lives, which is why it is commemorated this Day every year.
Looking at the progress made so far in ensuring digital identity inclusion for everyone, the minister said future solutions can be put in place to ensure better lives for the citizens and legal residents of Nigeria.
”We live in the modern digital age where a secure and verifiable identity is vital for any set system to work.
“You can’t access bank services and get ATM cards without proving your identity. You can’t even engage with others on online social media platforms without first verifying your identity. So, identity is key in our everyday lives, which is why we commemorate this Day today.
“I have stated that the harmonization and management of national identity is a major means of mitigating and controlling crime as well as for national development.”
“With a database of over 100 million National Identification Numbers in the National Identity Database, NIDB, NIMC provided essential access to attaining this goal along with other major stakeholders.
As a member of the Ministry of Interior family, he said that the joining of NIMC with other sister agencies will not only improve access by the general public to services like passport acquisition renewal but also the likes of efficient border security technology, effective handling of insecurity around the country, protection of critical national assets and infrastructure, reformation and reintegration of rehabilitated offenders in the society as well as improved emergency and fire response times.
He urged all stakeholders to join hands in ensuring the successful implementation of positive policies regarding national identity as it affects government social safety net and financial inclusion programmes.
The ID Day is all about setting a day out nationally and internationally in commemoration and appreciation of the real value of ownership of verifiable identity in the everyday lives.
In her address, Acting Director General/CEO of NIMC, Engr. Abisoye Coker-Odusote said harmonization of all the various identity systems remain a top priority in her agenda as CEO of NIMC.
She said the decision by President Tinubu to appoint her as the Acting Director General/CEO of NIMC, “is a profound testament to the President’s unwavering faith in the Commission’s recent achievements and his optimistic outlook on our future endeavors”.
“We embark on a journey that resonates deeply with our national aspirations. World Identity Day holds exceptional importance as it provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the pivotal role that identity plays in our lives and its profound impact on society.
“It is a day to recognize the transformative power of identity in shaping our destinies, safeguarding our rights, and connecting us as global citizens.
” Identity is more than a mere card or a number; it symbolizes our existence, our entitlements, and our place within society. It unlocks access to essential services, social benefits, and pathways to personal and economic growth. It stands as a testament to our individuality while serving as a bridge to our shared humanity.”
“At the National Identity Management Commission, our vision remains unwavering: to provide every citizen and legal resident with a digital primary identity, making it a universal reference point.
“We firmly believe that access to a reliable identity is not a privilege but a fundamental right. It serves as the cornerstone upon which we can build a more inclusive, secure, and prosperous society.
Odusote, who acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead, said she would ensure universal access to a trusted identity, regardless of background or circumstances, demands innovation, unwavering dedication, and global collaboration.
Continuing, NIMC DG said in the face of emerging technologies and evolving threats, NIMC would remain vigilant in safeguarding the integrity and security of identity systems. While embracing digital transformation, we must prioritize the principles of privacy and data protection.
“As we set out for this task, we must be inclusive, leaving no one behind as we endeavor to provide identity solutions for all.
“As we peer into the future, I reaffirm our unswerving commitment to the cause of identity management.
Let us labor diligently to fortify the bonds of trust between citizens and their governments.
“Let us harness the potential of identity to propel economic development, foster social inclusion, and champion justice and human rights.
“Nigeria’s journey towards a robust Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) is emblematic of its commitment to harnessing the power of digital technology for the betterment of its citizens especially in the provision of social services.
“As we continue to develop our DPI, we have to keep in mind that it holds the potentials to transforming lives, improving public services, and driving inclusive growth in a vast country as ours in such a way that we would be seen as a prominent player in Africa’s digital revolution.
However, she stated that addressing existing challenges and ensuring equitable access to digital resources will be key to realizing these potentials.