Nigeria ditches plastic ID cards for digital copies

Nigeria ditches plastic ID cards for digital copies

Nigeria has decided to move on from the registration and production of plastic identity cards to the more convenient digital ID Cards, according to Rauf Aregbesola, Nigeria’s minister of interior.

Aregbesola said on Thursday after a brief meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Isa Pantami, minister of information and digital economy, and Aliyu A. Aziz, director-general of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

The meeting was held to look at the report of the Committee on Citizens Data Management and Harmonisation which was chaired by Aregbesola.

Speaking at a press briefing shortly after the meeting, the former governor of Osun State explained that under the new arrangement, individual DNA samples are also going to be be part of a citizen’s identification record, adding that the plastic ID Card will now only serve the mere purpose of convenience.

According to him, “The card is just for convenience the real thing is the number you have, with that number you are on the databank, everything about you is there. We are just upgrading it such that your DNA too will be there very soon.

“Even if you are in a car, I will know if you are the one in the car with your DNA, it’s already captured. You are already captured, you cannot run away anymore,” he noted.

Isa Pantami, reacting to Aregbesola’s submission, said: “What the chairman is saying now is that we are no more talking about cards, the world has gone digital, so that card is no more. Our priority now is digital ID; it will be attached to your database wherever you are.

“So if you can memorize it by heart, wherever you go that central database domiciled with NIMC will be able to provide the number and every of your data will be provided.

“Now, our focus is no longer on producing cards, that card is only forrecord but what is important is that the digital ID and if you notice we have started using the digital ID on international passport. Once you have the digital ID but not the card, we are 100 percent done with you,” the minister submitted.

Also reacting to the new development, Aliyu A. Aziz, director-general of NIMC, explained that the government wants to go in this new direction because the production of plastic ID Card is strenuous and also puts a burden on the country’s foreign exchange.

“So we have found that this card is strenuous, it is forex that is going out of the country and we are in 21st century and that is why we are focusing on national identification number and other
identifications by other agencies have been linked to NIMC,” Aziz said.

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