With the support given by the
Recently, at a landmark ceremony in
Clearly, the support given to the project by
"I am proud to affirm that
According to Wigwe, Nigerians will begin to enjoy first class payment solutions hinged on electronic transactions as a result of improved identity management in the country.
"We are excited by the challenge of maintaining our leadership status as the most innovative Bank in
In 1979, the National Identity Card Scheme was first conceived, but the project did not see the light of day. In 2004, the scheme was revived and about 54 million Nigerians were registered. However, due, largely, to corruption and mismanagement of funds, the scheme failed to fulfill official expectations. Still, in 2011, N30 billion was approved by the
After an initial release of N5 billion to the NIMC in 2012, preparations for the scheme commenced. Critics pointed to past failures of such venture and noted that the NIMC's collection of biometric data was unnecessary, since other government agencies like the
Public pessimism however did not stop the Jonathan-led administration from pursuing the national identification scheme. And with the recent launch of the card by the President himself, the doubters should be ready to eat their words.
The new cards carry two photographs of the holder, and a chip storing an individual's biometric information, including ten fingerprints and an Iris scan using a system developed by Cryptovision. The card also carries a National Identity Number (NIN), which is the Nigerian equivalent of America's Social Security Number. An individual's NIN is unique to him or her.
More interestingly, the NIMC has collaborated with
The electronic national identity cards can be used as an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card - to withdraw cash from
Although other banking institutions are expected to join in the nearest future, the national e-ID card has
"I am happy that this important milestone of the rollout of the National Identity Management System has been realized today,"
"The card is not only a means of certifying your identity, but also a personal database repository and payment card, all in your pocket," the President also noted. "I have taken keen interest in this project, primarily because of the pervasive impact it can have on every facet of the socio-economic fabric of our dear nation."
The success of the scheme would bring about a unified national identity database, which would help the government in planning and cutting costs. NIMC is working with several government agencies to integrate and harmonize all identity databases including the Driver's License, Voter Registration,
"The National eID program enables us to create an optimized common platform for Nigerian citizens to easily interact with the various government agencies and to transact electronically," the Director-General of NIMC, Onyemenam has said.
"For the first time, the national eID will have a payment solution: something that is unprecedented in the world, and that's why so many critics believed it can never happen," Onyemenam also pointed out. "Very few public sector institutions have this kind of certification. We opted for this as part of the credibility-built measures, as we know so many people have lost faith in the ability of the public sector to create a basic and support infrastructure to get this identity management issue behind us," he added.
Although he believes improvements are still needed, Former President,
"It is a document that every Nigerian deserves and which is even late in coming. But we thank God that after the initial step in 1979, more than 30 years ago, we have come back. I hope that this step that we are taking now will be sustained and will serve all the needs of Nigerians. It will also help us to maintain a little bit of security."
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