President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said the registration of the National Identity Number and linking it to mobile numbers will help fight insecurity in the country.
A statement by the president’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said Mr Buhari said this while launching the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in Nigerian Telecoms Sector and Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Cards registration.
He said proper identification of all Nigerians and legal residents in the country and ability to conveniently access a database will enhance effective planning and security oversight.
“The NIN will cover one of the weaknesses in our security structure. We will be able to easily identify and know the personality of Nigerians. We will identify people easily, including the crooks,’’ he said.
The Nigerian government began the NIN-SIM linkage in 2020, with a directive to telecoms to block unlinked numbers in December 2020.
Currently, 190 million numbers have been linked to 54 million NINs.
Mr Buhari advised Nigerians to fully participate in the ongoing synchronization of NIN with SIM cards across the country as it will provide a digital framework for improving security and strengthening of the economy.
“The National Identification Number is the foundational digital ID for the country; both Nigerian citizens and legal residents are expected to obtain the NIN. It will provide access to government services and will give government useful insights that will enable us to utilize scarce resources in a more efficient way,’’ he added.
“The Digital Economy sector has made significant progress and recorded a number of unprecedented achievements since we expanded the mandate of the Ministry of Communications to include the digital economy mandate.
The Information and Communications Technology sector was the fastest growing sector in both the fourth quarter of 2020 and the entire year 2020, based on the Report by the National Bureau of Statistics.
According to the statement, Mr Buhari said the digital economy sector provided online options for activities that were restricted to offline channels, while minimizing the disruption to activities of both public and private sectors, and reducing cost of meetings.
“As a country, our desire to produce what we eat, and consume what we produce is not limited to the literal meaning; rather we want to work towards being self-sufficient in every sector of the economy. For the telecom sector, we want Nigerians to play a major role in the design and manufacture of devices, in meeting the manpower requirements and in becoming an active part of the telecommunications ecosystem of the country.
“Previous attempts have been unsuccessful due to a number of reasons, including sabotage. Our focused approach shows that this administration is dedicated to ensuring that we derive the benefits of a secure and robust digital identity system,” he said.
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said the NIN registration has recorded a huge success with 54 million Nigerians already captured in the process, adding, “within six months over 12 million enrolled.’’
Mr Pantami said it was now possible to have virtual ID cards that can be used in various transactions, assuring that the NIN and SIM card registration for Nigerians and legal residents will cover 99.9 per cent.
He said the buoyancy of the telecoms sector had given Nigeria many leadership roles in international organisations, listing the impact on education, training, health and welfare of many, including the establishment of 600 computer centres, and a world class SIM card manufacturing company in the country.
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