According to the Federal Government, Nigerians can now ask their banks to give them a debit card that also serves as their national ID card.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami, announced this in Abuja on Wednesday. He also mentioned that there would be no charges for this service.
Pantami mentioned that the approval was given during a meeting of top government officials led by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. He explained that the approval came after the National Identity Management Commission sent a memo allowing banks to create debit cards that can also be used as national identity cards.
The Minister explained that” It is going to be a form of multipurpose card where it will serve as your national identity card on the one hand and also your bank card on the other hand, either Mastercard, Visa or any other kind of card.”
According to Pantami, although the NIMC Act 2007 only mandates Nigerians to have a National Identity Number and not necessarily a printout card, demands for cards have swelled nonetheless.
“As in the NIMC Act 2007, section 27, what is mandatory for our citizens and legal residents is the acquiring of the National Identity Number, not the card. However, the card is optional.
“But many citizens, particularly those living in rural communities, always go to NIMC offices complaining that they need the card at hand, even though it’s optional.
“To make it easier, NIMC last year, we introduced a smart ID card you can download from NIMC app. It is just a smart card. You don’t need to have it physically, but that is becoming difficult for our people living in rural communities.”
To ease the difficulty, Pantami said NIMC had partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria” so that citizens who are interested in having a card at hand can easily go to the relevant banks.”
According to him, the bank is permitted to print the card along with either a Mastercard or Visa card.
” It is going to be a form of a multipurpose card that will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other. And based on the agreement, it is without any additional costs to our citizens.
“So when you apply for a card at your bank, you can indicate that ‘I want this card to be multiple purposes where it will serve as my bank card and also my national identity card.’
” Both of them are going to be printed on the same card, and it is going to serve the same purposes without any additional costs.”
The Minister explained that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have signed an agreement to protect the privacy and confidentiality of individuals applying for the card. He assured the public that the privacy and confidentiality of card users would be maintained.
Pantami further mentioned that when someone requests the card, the bank will connect to the NIMC database to verify the person’s information. The details the person provides must match the records in the NIMC database. Once confirmed, the bank will immediately print the card for the user.
The Minister also informed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a proposal to deploy an automated system to link National Identification Numbers (NINs) with individual SIM cards. This system aims to streamline the process of linking NINs with SIM cards.
He said, “As we all know that previous administrations made efforts to verify NIN and SIM starting from 2011 without success.
” In February 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the implementation of the policy, and the revised version of the policy was also launched and unveiled by Mr. President on May 6, 2021.
“As it stands today, the NIN and SIM policy registration is being implemented. In order to consolidate the implementation.
“The Nigerian Communications Commission came up with a proposal that will enhance the implementation of the policy and bring many more benefits to it.”
Pantami stated that the automated system would clean up the database and simplify the process of replacing SIM cards for Nigerians and legal residents.