Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has announced forthcoming discussions among key stakeholders in the national identity system to devise a framework for the harmonization of diverse identity systems. The objective is to streamline and enhance service delivery efficiency throughout the country.
Tunji-Ojo stated that these talks will encompass various entities, including INEC, banks, FRSC, NPC, Immigration, and NCC, among others. The NIMC, as a legally empowered statutory body, will play a pivotal role in achieving this goal in the near future.
The Minister made this disclosure during the 5th Identity Day commemoration held at ICC, Abuja, under the theme “Identity as Catalyst for Nigeria’s Development.” The event explored the role of identity in key government programs, such as social safety nets, financial inclusion, and the promotion of good governance and transparency.
Highlighting the significance of national identity harmonization, Tunji-Ojo emphasized its crucial role in crime mitigation and national development. He stressed that, in the current context, managing and harmonizing national identity systems is paramount.
This commemoration marked the first such event during the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and since the NIMC’s relocation to the Ministry of Interior. Minister Tunji-Ojo described the chosen theme as a catalyst for Nigeria’s development, underscoring the importance of identity management in nation-building. He reiterated that identity is an integral aspect of daily life, underscoring the annual observance of Identity Day.
Reflecting on the strides made in ensuring digital identity inclusion for all, the Minister expressed optimism about implementing future solutions that would enhance the quality of life for Nigerian citizens and legal residents.
” We live in the modern digital age where a secure and verifiable identity is vital for any set system to work.
“You can’t access bank services and get ATM cards without proving your identity. You can’t even engage with others on online social media platforms without first verifying your identity. So, identity is key in our everyday lives, which is why we commemorate this Day today.
“I have stated that the harmonization and management of national identity is a major means of mitigating and controlling crime as well as for national development.”
“With a database of over 100 million National Identification Numbers in the National Identity Database, NIDB, NIMC provided essential access to attaining this goal along with other major stakeholders.
Being a part of the Ministry of Interior family, he emphasized that the integration of NIMC with other related agencies will not only enhance public access to services such as passport acquisition and renewal but also improve the effectiveness of border security technology, enhance the handling of security issues nationwide, safeguard critical national assets and infrastructure, facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration of reformed offenders into society, and expedite emergency and fire response times.
He called upon all stakeholders to collaborate in ensuring the successful execution of beneficial policies concerning national identity, particularly those related to government social safety net programs and financial inclusion initiatives.
Identity Day serves as a national and international occasion to acknowledge and commemorate the intrinsic value of possessing verifiable identity in our daily lives.
In her address, the Acting Director General/CEO of NIMC, Engr. Abisoye Coker-Odusote underscored the utmost importance of prioritizing the harmonization of various identity systems as part of her agenda. She expressed gratitude for President Tinubu’s appointment of her as Acting Director General/CEO, seeing it as a significant endorsement of the Commission’s recent accomplishments and a reflection of his positive outlook for its future endeavors.
“We embark on a journey that resonates deeply with our national aspirations. World Identity Day holds exceptional importance as it provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the pivotal role that identity plays in our lives and its profound impact on society.
“It is a day to recognize the transformative power of identity in shaping our destinies, safeguarding our rights, and connecting us as global citizens.
” Identity is more than a mere card or a number; it symbolizes our existence, our entitlements, and our place within society. It unlocks access to essential services, social benefits, and pathways to personal and economic growth. It stands as a testament to our individuality while serving as a bridge to our shared humanity.”
“At the National Identity Management Commission, our vision remains unwavering: to provide every citizen and legal resident with a digital primary identity, making it a universal reference point.
“We firmly believe that access to a reliable identity is not a privilege but a fundamental right. It serves as the cornerstone upon which we can build a more inclusive, secure, and prosperous society.
Recognizing the hurdles that await, Odusote affirmed her commitment to achieving widespread access to a reliable identity, irrespective of one’s background or situation, emphasizing that this endeavor calls for innovation, unwavering commitment, and international cooperation.
Furthermore, the NIMC DG underscored that, in the midst of advancing technologies and ever-changing security challenges, NIMC will maintain a vigilant stance in preserving the credibility and safety of identity systems. While embracing the shift toward digital transformation, it is imperative to prioritize the principles of privacy and data protection.