By Bayero Agabi
As the world continues to embrace digital life , global economy, governance and innovation has also been affected. This is one of the reasons Nigeria has in recent times embarked on the promotion of the Nigeria digital economy by integrating all aspects of the nations economy. In response to the global reality of embracing digital life, the Nigeria government has announced that the country has moved from national identification and registration of citizens via card-based version to strictly digital. This means the registration of citizens will now be strictly digital and no more printing of cards.
This was disclosed to State House Correspondents on Thursday by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami and after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The two ministers joined by the the Director General of the National Identity Management Commission NIMC Engineer Aliyu Aziz, had met with President Buhari to submit the report of the Committee on Citizens Data Management and Harmonization, Chaired by the Minister of Interior.
In a briefing with the State House Correspondents after the report submission, Ogbeni Aregbesola said the new direction in citizen identification will include individual DNA samples, adding that the card-based would merely be for convenience.
In his words “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,” he explained. To buttress the minister explanation the Director-General of NIMC, Engr. Aziz, said production of identification cards is strenuous as well as straining the nation’s foreign exchange.
He said further, “With your national ID you are already identified, in the US is called social security number, the same with UK .
“So we have found that this card is strenuous, it takes a lot of forex out of the country and we are in 21st century and that is why we are focusing on national identification number and other identifications by other agencies have been linked to NIMC,” he said.
In agreement, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, said the attention of the programme would no longer be cards’ production, but strengthening the digital platform.
“What the chairman 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 memorize 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 percent done with you,” Pantami stated.