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NIN more important than national ID card, says commission’s DG

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Director-General of NIMC, Aliyu Aziz


The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has said the delay in the issuance of the national identity cards for Nigerians was due to the high cost of production.

Besides, the Commission stated that the National Identification Number (NIN) was more important than the card, explaining that once a citizen or resident is enrolled, his or her captured data remains more important than the identification card itself.

Director General of the Commission, Engineer Aziz Aliyu, told The Guardian in Abuja that insufficient funding was a key factor hindering effective service delivery of NIMC.On assumption of office in 2015, Aliyu said he met only N769million on ground, explaining that the Commission’s expectation of getting N30billion in three years was dashed, as at the end of the day, only N17billion was received within the period under review.

The card, which he described as general multi-purpose card, has 80 kilobyte, 20 times bigger than the common Automated Teller Machine (ATM) type that is cheaper to produce.“It takes N3, 000 to N4, 000 to produce a card of that magnitude, so you can understand how expensive it is to produce one, given our large population,” he said.

The Social Security Number (SSN), according to Aliyu, is more important than the national identity card, explaining that the method was adopted to reduce cost.He stated that the high cost of production remained the reason for the NIN, as is the case in the United Kingdom (UK), insisting: “There is no need fixating ourselves with card; hence the decision to focus on NIN.

“If substandard cards are produced, a lot of money will be spent in managing fraud due to the attitude of Nigerians.“Since it is a digital economy, numbers are better. For instance, airtime recharge card numbers are now used, instead of the old method when they were printed on cards. It is the same thing here, rather than issue cards to everybody, the digital identity for Nigerians is better, since it reduces cost of card production.”


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