#TTOutlook17 | National ID builds trust for modern Nigeria, NIMC CEO says

#TTOutlook17 | National ID builds trust for modern Nigeria, NIMC CEO says

#TTOutlook17 | National ID builds trust for modern Nigeria, NIMC CEO says

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Engineer Aliyu Aziz Abubakar, Director General/CEO of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has told #TTOutlook17 in Lagos that National ID numbers (NINs) issued Nigerians by the nation’s ID managers builds added trust for their participation in a modern economy.

“The cornerstone of a knowledge economy is actually ICT and all the disruptions come from the ICT, especially with the convergence of technology. But ICT has two phases: it has the positive and the negative. One of those negative aspects has to do with cyber security, has to do with trust, trust system and that is where the identity management will come in” Abubakar says.

The NIMC DG/CEO said this Friday at Technology Times Outlook 2017, #TTOutlook17, organised by Technology at the MUSON Centre, Lagos while delivering a thought leadership keynote presentation, “National Identity Management: Unlocking Possibilities for Knowledge-Driven Nigeria.”

The NIMC DG/CEO who identifies ICT as the “cornerstone” of a knowledge driven economy says the issuance of digital certificate is in line with tackling a major negative aspect of ICT which involves cyber security and trust.

“The whole purpose of identity management is to build trust and so my perspective is that we need to build trust in the new knowledge-driven economy by issuing people with digital certificate”, Abubakar told #TTOutlook17 attendees.

“The whole purpose of identity management is to build trust and so my perspective is that we need to build trust in the new knowledge-driven economy by issuing people with digital certificate”, Abubakar told #TTOutlook17 attendees.

Commercial activities underway at Ikeja Computer Village, the nation's biggest technology market as Nigeria debates whether or not to devalue to the Naira
Commercial activities underway at Ikeja Computer Village biggest technology market in Nigeria

He further clarified that NIMC is not another ID card issuance project as people sometimes suggest but an overarching programme to give Nigerians digital identity and digital certificate which he describes as a “key national infrastructure.”

According to the chief of the Nigerian National ID management agency, “many of you say ID card, but there has to be a mind-shift. We have to move from ID card. The latest identity system that we have done in Nigeria is the BVN. I did not hear BVN card. But when it comes to NIMC, everybody will be talking about card. In fact, even National Assembly will tell you National Identity Card Management Commission, and I will say no, you are the ones that passed the Act that set up our Commission. So, call us by our name which is Identity Management.

“And what do I mean by the digital certificate that we have? A public key infrastructure and I believe that it is only NIMC that has a national public key infrastructure that can issue those certificates and we can use those certificates in knowledge economy. And many unlocking possibilities are going to be in this particular public key infrastructure whereby you can do the national identification number verification. There are APIs that are provided. They can query the demographic information. You can do facial recognition. You can do a lot of artificial intelligence and it is there. But as I said, everything that is important is hidden somewhere just like diamond and gold,” Abubakar says.

For Nigeria to be a knowledge driven economy, it has to beat a key challenge, which is mindset. It has to rethink and change attitude to be able to gain the knowledge and share it among one another, according to the NIMC CEO.

According to the chief of the Nigerian National ID management agency, “many of you say ID card, but there has to be a mind-shift. We have to move from ID card. The latest identity system that we have done in Nigeria is the BVN. I did not hear BVN card. But when it comes to NIMC, everybody will be talking about card. In fact, even National Assembly will tell you National Identity Card Management Commission, and I will say no, you are the ones that passed the Act that set up our Commission. So, call us by our name which is Identity Management.

Engineer Aliyu Aziz Abubakar, Director General/CEO of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) seen speaking Friday at #TTOutlook17 in Lagos says that National ID numbers (NINs), and not National ID cards are what Nigerians need
Engineer Aliyu Aziz Abubakar, Director General/CEO of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) seen speaking Friday at #TTOutlook17 in Lagos says that National ID numbers (NINs), and not National ID cards are what Nigerians need

According to him, “when you talk of knowledge-driven country, then there is usually a pointer on development of that knowledge, measuring the knowledge, preserving it, sharing it with others because any knowledge that is not shared is not really knowledge per se. Usually the key principles when you look at how organisations interact with customers, you look at the knowledge development using the ICT and also measuring that knowledge.”

For Abubakar, “most of it again may come from using artificial intelligence or using a groupware system in an organisation but they all have challenges and one of the key challenges is mindset and I believe that during the discussion yesterday you mentioned issues related to attitude; that Nigeria has to move to a knowledge-driven economy. But it has to rethink and also become knowledgeable. In order to become knowledgeable, again, we have to be lifelong learners as we all know that technology is dynamic and also we live in a global village whereby there is constant change.”

The NIMC CEO further listed some importance of identity, explaining that identity is a public good used for proving who one is and critical for participation in political, social and economic life.

As a transformation tool, it plugs leakage of funds, wastage reduction and public service delivery, Abubakar says noting that identity serves as a tool for empowerment, financial inclusion, gateway for access to service and is fundamental to the development of any country.

Identity management in Nigeria will benefit the country in numerous areas as it will serve as a means of identification for every Nigerian citizen and legal resident, eliminate wastages and leakages through support of shared services, reduce cost of governance by eliminating duplication, the NIMC CEO adds. It will also drive efficiency in social safety schemes, reduce threat of identity theft and cases of mistaken identities and fight against individuals being socially excluded from their rights.

For the him, ID also provides valuable demographic information for effective planning & decision making; enhances national security & public safety through identification & verification services; provides timely and effective delivery/access to public services; ensures payroll savings through elimination of public sector ghost workers & duplicate identities.

Abubakar says that ID will also ease banking through KYC (know your customer); drive ease of portability of services across the country, consumer services (e.g. credit/loans); industry because of person identity verification, tax collection & enforcement, revenue generation for the Federal Government and financial inclusion.

“What is important is digital certification. We have always emphasised that NIN is the most important. It is only NIN that can substitute for other identifications when they are needed, for instance in a bank. So, once you have the NIN, that is okay. But we are doing our best to issue the cards,” he says.

Engineer Aliyu Aziz Abubakar, Director General/CEO of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) seen speaking Friday at #TTOutlook17 in Lagos says that National ID is the cornerstone of participation in the modern economy
Engineer Aliyu Aziz Abubakar, Director General/CEO of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) seen speaking Friday at #TTOutlook17 in Lagos says that National ID is the cornerstone of participation in the modern economy

Identity management equally opened a lot of opportunities in different areas that cuts across education, telecommunication/ICT, pensions & insurance, aviation, payments, consumer credit, government services, agriculture, health/social and transportation/hospitality, among others.

He as well enumerated opportunities and possibilities for smart and knowledge driven society and they include Data for Development & planning, Central Repository for information sharing, Gateway for e-commerce & e-government, Connected systems for data exchange, Digital identity for digital technology, One stop shop for data integrity, Online real time verification of identity, Interoperability & standardization issues, Integration and Seamless transactions.

He also explains that the key components of the National Identification Management System (NIMS) include data capturing, NIN issuance, card issuance, authentication and verification and harmonisation.

On card issuance, the NIMC DG says he has always been getting complaints from people who say they have registered long ago but are yet to be issued with a card and explained to the #TTOutlook17 that NIN is what is more important, rather than card.

“What is important is digital certification. We have always emphasised that NIN is the most important. It is only NIN that can substitute for other identifications when they are needed, for instance in a bank. So, once you have the NIN, that is okay. But we are doing our best to issue the cards,” he says.

The NIMC DG also clarified that he has been misquoted in some quarters as saying that Nigeria will use the NIN for the 2019 election, which is not really the way he put it.

“Yes, we have to use the harmonised identity for our electoral process. If we are able to do that before 2019, so be it. But if not, we must harmonize quickly for such purposes”, Abubakar says.

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Donatus Anichukwueze

Technology Journalist at Technology Times Media
Phone No: 08074016066
e-mail: donatus.anichukwueze@technologytimes.ng

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