Mr. Loveday Chika Ogbonna, Head, Corporate Communications of the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, has provided answers to often asked questions by the public concerning the activities of the commission. Below are the excerpts:
Where is NIMC so far with the National Identity Management System (NIMS) project?
Ans: Well, NIMC is very much on course. Enrolment is ongoing in the over 400 enrolment centres across the country every weekday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. We are also issuing the National e-ID Cards to successful enrolees in all the State offices and a few other special centres.
Some Nigerians, especially VIPs like the President, former presidents, governors and top government officials, who registered in 2015 have been issued their cards, while others who registered in 2012, 2013 and 2014 are yet to get their own cards, why is this so?
Ans: First of all, when it comes to VIPs, the major reason why we paid special attention to selected persons is for endorsement. Remember that Nigeria has been grappling with the issue of National Identity Management and National ID Card for several years now, leading a lot of citizens to lose faith in the whole project, there are also misconceptions about the National Identification Number bothering on religion, so when we say so and so has registered and has been issued their NIN or card, we do that to gain support and buy in of Nigerians. If you noticed recently we have even toned down those VIP activities as more Nigerians are becoming aware of what we ae doing a NMC.
Every Nigerian and Legal resident will eventually get their cards; we are currently making effort to get more support from the government and collaboration from the Private sector to enable NIMC scale up its service delivery to Nigerians. We also call on community leaders, traditional rulers, religious and secular leaders, etc., to help NIMC sensitise their subjects, especially those at the grassroots on the importance of the National Identity Management System (NIMS) project; and the difference between this project and what we used to have which was centred more on Card issuance than on identity Management.
Secondly, you will recall that we started enrolling Nigerians and issuing the National Identification Number (NIN) to residents in 2012, at that time the arrangement was a Public Private Partnership where two other actors were to join in the enrolment and subsequent issuing of general multipurpose smart cards to successful enrolees, but we had a setback with that arrangement.
It was not until August of 2014 that we commenced the pilot phase of the card issuance to Nigerians who had enrolled, we had an official unveiling and presidential launch of the National e-ID Card.
Since then we have continued to issue cards to Nigerians, I can confirm to you that we have successfully personalised almost all of 2012 National e-ID Cards and are currently rounding up on 2013. 2012 and 2013 cards were particularly slow in reaching their owners because we had to work on some of the data to bring them up to some recent technologies, and we had to do this without asking the enrolees to come back for fresh data capturing.
As I speak there are over 750,000 cards in our various state offices waiting for collection from those we have sent SMS notifications to. As part of the collaborations and scaling up efforts, we are confident that enrolments from 2014 to date will receive speedy processing.
How long does it take to collect the card after registration?
Ans: Presently we are trying to clear the backlog of cards already in our system and as soon as that is done, card collection should be within a period of 3-6 months after registration.
What are the requirements for collecting the card?
Ans: Once your card is ready, an SMS will be sent to the phone number you provided during registration informing you where you can pick up your card. The text also contains a batch ID – usually a 5-6 digit number to be presented for card collection at the specified NIMC office.
Please note that cards cannot be collected by proxy. You will have to come in person to any NIMC office where you are requested to pick your card for activation, using your biometrics as well as to provide a four (4) digit PIN which is required to activate the financial application on your card and enable it to be used as an ATM and on a POS.
It is pertinent to add that applicants can log in online to check the status of their card at https://touch.nimc.gov.ng you will be asked to provide your first name, middle and surname including the last 6 digit of your NIN.
NIMC informed Nigerians that the NIN slip can be used for transactions but this is not so as some banks including Access Bank have been turning down the slip as a valid means of identification. How would you react to this?
Ans: The banks are not supposed to turn down Nigerians with the NIN slip for transactions because the emphasis is on the National Identification Number which is clearly visible on the NIN slip and is similar to the Social Security Number issued in the United States of America.
The NIN is a Unique Identifier issued to an individual upon successful registration into the National Identity Database (NIDB) and can be used to verify and authenticate the identity of such an individual in Banks and other outlets, using various platforms including Card Acceptance Devices (CAD).
The NIN is your identity, not even the card or the slip, hence we have commenced serious discussions with the CBN to permit the use of the NIN slip duly issued by the NIMC, which contains the NIN, which is easily verifiable using the NIMC Verification portal online and realtime. Meanwhile, the card is a token given after a successful enrolment and issuance of your NIN. You may lose your card or at the expiration of the card get a replacement, but not so with your NIN. The NIN is issued once in a lifetime.
Very soon, once everything is put in place, the NIMC will begin to enforce the mandatory use of the NIN for transactions by agencies of government and financial institutions.