The Nigeria government is set to begin the production of the biometric identity cards of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in patnership with the Infrastructure Conception Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
The Minister of Interior, Abdulraham Dambazau, said this during the signing of the agreement for the production of the cards with the ICRC in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved the production of the identity card to replace the ECOWAS certificate in January.
The production will be done by a Nigerian security production company, Euphera, but will be funded by the private sector.
Mr Dambazau said the agreement will last for a period of 10 years. Thirteen million biometric cards are expected to be produced within this period at a cost of over N14 billion.
“The ID card will provide protection against identity theft, abolish trade restrictions and enhance harmonisation between the countries,” he said.
“Features of the card are photographs, fingerprint and other details that can be checked at instantly at the entry points,” he said.
He said ECOWAS certificate will be a thing of the past in the shortest time. He said the production requires constant monitoring and evaluation.
On his part, the DG ICRC, Chidi Izuwah, said the production of the ID cards will improve the database and the ability to manage migration in the sub-region.
“It is important for the movement of people. It will be financed by the private sector but will be beneficial to the government,” he said.
He said it will also be beneficial to security and also create employment in the Information Technology base of the country.
Mr Izuwah said the ICRC will take custody of the contract while the Ministry of Interior and the Nigeria Immigration Service will supervise the project for the benefit of Nigerians.
ICRC had issued a certificate which was properly approved.