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Ahead of the January 1, 2019 deadline given by the federal government for the mandatory use of the National Identification Number (NIN), the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Aliyu Aziz, has held wide consultations with the leadership of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country under the aegis of Association of Licenced Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).

Aziz, said he considered the meeting with ALTON to be central in the implementation of the recently launched Digital Identity Ecosystem spearheaded by NIMC, given the association’s membership, which are the mobile subscribers with a total number of over 150 million.

Speaking further on the meeting with ALTON, Aziz said the MNOs in Nigeria “are already undertaking data capture subscribers’ information including biometrics for any SIM to be active. This information is sent to a central database managed by NCC.

“The NCC being a stakeholder in the identity ecosystem is required by the NIMC Act and Regulation, to ensure the use of the NIN for access to services including SIM utilisation. NCC is a key partner in the Identity harmonisation process, and was one of the earliest government agencies to handover to NIMC data available to it from SIM registration for warehousing by NIMC in the National Identity Database,” Aziz said.

The NIMC boss also used the opportunity to explain the effect and implication of the ‘mandatory use of NIN’ in the Federal Government’s directive.

“Some people have the wrong impression that by January 1, 2019, the mandatory use of NIN means everyone in Nigeria must have the NIN. This is not correct. Rather, what it means is that to access any services as specified under Section 27 (1) of the NIMC Act 2007, a person must have the NIN; where one does not have it, any government agency or private sector operator to be licensed by NIMC offering such services that fall under the mandatory use of the NIN, must immediately enrol the person and generate the NIN under the Digital Identity Ecosystem,” Azuz stated.

On his part, ALTON, led by its Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, had earlier chronicled the fears of the Association and its members against the backdrop of inadequate enrolment centres across the country pursuant to the issuance of NIN.

He however pointed out the importance of the national identity system, saying: “A credible national identity database enables effective planning, increases financial inclusion by easing access to financial services, enhances the electoral process and helps improve national security.”

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