The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, gas approved the licensing of 173 private sector agents as well as 30 State Governments/Public Sector Institutions to conduct enrollment of Nigerians and legal residents into the National Identity Database (NIDB) on behalf of the National Identity Management Commision NIMC.
The Director-General/Chief Executive of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu Aziz, explained in a statement in Abuja, that the licensed agents were approved after successfully fulfilling all the conditions in the advertised Expression of Interest (EOI) which was done in 2019 as a first step towards the take off of the National Digital Identity Ecosystem project.
According to the statement, a breakdown of the successful licences shows that 16 state governments were licensed, including Abia, Akwa Ibom, Gombe, Lagos, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Oyo,Ogun, Osun Sokoto and Zamfara States.
Prominent among the public sector institutions licensed are the Nigerian Communications Commission NCC, National Pension Commission, Central Bank of Nigeria CBN (through the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement Systems PLC), National Population Commission, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Joint Tax Board and Nigeria Postal Services.
Other public sector organizations issued licenses include Military Pensions Board, Abuja Enterprise Agency, Corporate Affairs Commission CAC, National Health Insurance Scheme NHIS, National Agricultural Extension and Research Liason Services, and National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.
The main mobile network operators in Nigeria, MTN, Airtel, Globacom and 9Mobile are among the 173 private sector organizations licensed, while Etransact, VDT Communications Unified Payment Services UPS, were also successful.
Seven NGOs, Africa Youth Growth Foundation, An Nadaa Educational Foundation, Arrida Relief Foundation, Hadejia Ina Mafita Initiative Community Based Organization, Mimido Initiative & Development and Murna Foundation were also licensed.
Engr. Aziz further explained that the licensing of enrollment agents is in line with the Federal Government’s strategy to scale up enrollment and issuance of the National Identity Number NIN to Nigerians and legal residents, thereby liberalising the enrollment process and opening up the sector for multiple players. The goal of the Digital Identity Ecosystem project is to increase the number of enrollment centres in the country from the current meagre 1,000 to 10,000, and enrollment figures from the current 43 million to 200 million within the next five years.
The initiative is one of the cardinal pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), and is driven by the NIMC working with the public and private sector providers as partners, including State and Local Governments, Public Institutions, Civil Society Organizations and qualified private vendors for the enrollment of Nigerians and legal residents in Nigeria into a centralized and secure National Identity Database.
Furthermore, the initiative is also to support the Federal Government’s efforts in tackling insecurity in the country, as it sins to eliminate the bottlenecks involved in the enrollment process. It will also improve the Identity authentication of citizens’ and make all identity-related transactions safe within and outside the country.
The approved agents are to commence enrollment of all Nigerians and legal residents immediately.