The Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr Aliyu Aziz, said that NIMC had harmonized close to 30 million identities of Nigerians.
He gave the indication while speaking with State House Correspondents after the National Identity harmonization team presented its strategic roadmap for developing harmonized national digital identity ecosystem to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
According to Aziz, the new Eco-System approach agreed by all other agencies was to collaborate with NIMC to move the numbers to cover the whole population as soon as possible.
The DG noted that there were initial challenges in the exercise but they were in the process of being resolved once the agencies had agreed to work in a collaborative manner.
Aziz hinted that the agency had a three year timeline to cover the entire Nigerian population.
He said that the focus was to do everything in a digital manner focusing on number and not the possession of physical cards.
He said the same was done in some countries like India, which had done about 1.4 billion identities where the country focused on number.
“Our focus for the next three years is just going to be on the number to give digital identification,’’ he said.
Also speaking, the Mr Lanre Osinbana, Presidential aide on Logistics and ICT, added that the harmonization process had advanced much.
He said it had been a wonderful experience, difficult but very fruitful, adding that the purpose of the exercise was to develop a digital economy.
“To drive identity is a crucial aspect of this and in terms of innovations towards providing technologies and opportunities to be able to access data.
“We live in a much data environment now; so this is very crucial,’’ he said.
According to him, identity is a critical aspect in the government’s programme on social safety net as well as on financial inclusion.
“This is very key for us to make sure that we can capture every single Nigeria, have data for them, and the minimum information about them.
“With this we are able to reach them, forecast and budget better so that the minimum security aspect which is a challenge will be overcome with a better understanding of Nigerians.
“The purpose of this is vast, it cuts across all the identity agencies in the country both functional and foundational,’’ he added.
He said it was crucial the country got it right by issuing every Nigerian a digital number, adding that the three year timeline was realizable as it would lay solid foundation for other development programmes. (NAN)