From Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami has approved the licensing of 173 private sector agents as well as 30 state institutions to help conduct enrolment of Nigerians and legal residents into the National Identity Database (NIDB) on behalf of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
This approval follows the directive by the Minister who ordered that all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards without valid National Identification Numbers (NIN) should be blocked. The Director General of NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.
Aziz explained 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 the National Digital Identity Ecosystem project.
According to the statement, 16 state governments were licensed, including Abia, Akwa Ibom, Gombe, Lagos, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Oyo, Ogun, Sokoto and Zamfara states. Prominent among the public sector institutions licensed are the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Pension Commission(PenCom), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS Plc), National Population Commission(NPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Joint Tax Board (JTB) and Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST).
Other public sector organisations issued licences include Military Pensions Board, Abuja Enterprise Agency, Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), National Agricultural Extension & Research Liaison Services and National Commission for Refugees, Migrants & Internally Displaced Persons.
Some of the 173 private sector organisations licensed include MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9mobile, Etranzact, VDT Communications, Unified Payment Services were also approved.
Seven NGOs, namely Africa Youth Growth Foundation, An Nadaa Educational Foundation, Arrida Relief Foundation, Hadejia Ina Mafita Initiative, Community -based Organisation, Mimido Initiative & Development and Murna Foundation were also licensed.
The initiative is also to support the Federal Government’s effort at tackling insecurity in the country. The project aims to eliminate the bottlenecks involved in the enrolment process. It will also improve the identity authentication of citizens and make all identity-related transactions safe within and outside the country.