Additional $3.1 billion required to digitalise National Identity, says Presidency

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Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday in Abuja, said the Federal Government required additional $3.1 billion to achieve digital national identity for all citizens.

Osinbajo disclosed this at the stakeholder workshop on Strategic Roadmap for Digital Identity, Eco-system in Nigeria.

Represented by Senior Special Assistant to the President on ICT, Mr Lanre Osibona, the Vice President said a World Bank research of 2015 showed that Nigeria spent $1.2 billion since the 1970s on the project

He explained that the digital identity ecosystem was aimed at having a basic data of all Nigerians, which could be built upon by the functional identity stakeholders.

“This is over two years of relentless effort to get to where we are today, the issue and challenges to ensuring a successful national identity are many and they must be addressed collectively.

“However, one thing I can assure you of is that funding has never been one of those challenges.

“According to World Bank research in 2015, Nigeria spent 1.2 billion dollars since the late 1970s but much work remains undone.

“We are projected to spend an additional $3.1 billion if we are to follow the existence approach of developing identification in Nigeria.

“The incredible benefit of this programme is at stake and we must get it right this time,’’ Osinbajo said.

The vice president explained that the major challenge facing identity programme was the lack of a working record system and practical approaches.

He said changes had been made to the process of enrolling on the digital national identity to ease the procedure, which included reduction of identity attributes from 75 to 10.

Osinbajo emphasised on the gains of the digital identity number, stating that the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) would easily enforce traffic offences through unified identity system.

He added that bank transaction would also become easier, saying that the benefit derivable from the technology cannot be quantified.

He said: “it covers over all security benefits in an environment of current anonymity’’.

Mr Aliyu Aziz, Director-General, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) had called for collaboration among agencies handling data to help actualise the eco-system approach of national identity.

He said the digital identity was meant to give every Nigerian a unique identity, boost development and promote security in the country.

“The plan of giving every Nigerian a unique identity within a period of three to five years programme can only happen if we all work together.

“Nigeria is a very special country where people without identity live well and eat three square meals and there has been a lot of issues related to this identity.

“Policies developed must be articulated and refined in such a way that government agencies will work together, share infrastructure and investment to serve their customers who are potentially the same citizens and residents.

“We should give Nigeria a world class identity management, infrastructure, which will boost security and socio-economic transformation,’’ he said.

Also, Mr Mahmood Mohammed, Chairman, House Committee on National ID commended the Federal Government for the huge amount spent on the project so far.

Mohammed, therefore, assured the stakeholders of the National Assembly’s support in actualising the digital national identity.

He also called on similar agencies to work together and ensure a unified database and identity for Nigerians.

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