The Federal Government has said that it will de-emphasise the use of the plastic cards printed by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in preference for digital identification of Nigerians in line with global trends.
This implies that the registration number issued by NIMC to a registrant, and not the plastic card, will be the recognisable means of identifying any Nigerian captured in the database.
The Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, said on Thursday that this was part of Citizen Data Management and Harmonisation programme of the government to bring the country’s identity management in line with modern standards.
Speaking with State House Correspondents, he said, “The card is just for convenience, the real thing is the number you have; with that number you are on the data bank, 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.”
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy of Nigeria, Isa Ali Pantami, also shed light on the new digital identification.
He explained, “What the chairman (Aregbesola) 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 memorise 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 per cent done with you.”
The Managing Director of NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, corroborated the two ministers.
He stated, “With your national ID, you are already identified. In the US, it 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 out 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 identification by other agencies have been linked to NIMC.”