BE INFORMED: From September 1, You Cannot Do Anything Unless You Have A National Identity Number

FROM September 1, the National Identity Number (NIN) shall become mandatory for all transactions involving the identification of individuals in the country.

To that end, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), which is in charge of NIN issuance, has urged Nigerians to avail themselves the opportunity of enrolling in the national identity database to get their NIN.

In a statement yesterday, NIMC General Manager, Corporate Communications, Abdulhamid Umar, said the agency has been advertising in some national dailies that the use of NIN shall become mandatory all transactions offered by applicable government institutions from September 1.

According to the commission, these transactions, pursuant to section 27 (1) and (2) of the NIMC Act, 2007 include application for, and issuance of International Passport, opening of individual and/or group bank accounts.

Also affected are all consumer credits, purchase of insurance policies, purchase, transfer and registration of land by any individual, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), such transactions that have social security implications, registration of voters, payment of taxes and pensions, among others.

“Consequently, any government agency/institution, bank, insurance company and all other institutions offering services and/or involved in transactions requiring the identity of an individual must first demand for the NIN,” NIMC General Manager, Inspectorate, Regulatory and Compliance Services, Mrs. Hadiza Dagabana said.

“Any individual, institutions/body who fails to comply with the above has committed an offence punishable under section 28 of the NIMC Act.”

The commission urged citizens to appreciate the full import of the NIMC mandate and understand that the three-decades-old problem of identity management in Nigeria has been fixed since 2012 by NIMC’s unique identification infrastructure and the subsequent launch of the National e-ID Card scheme in 2014.

On the importance of NIN, NIMC General Manager, Information Technology/Identity Database, Chuks Onyepunuka, explained: “Clearly, most people are unable to appreciate the shift in paradigm from ‘Card Issuance,’ their familiar turf, to ‘Identity Management,’ the current global trend, which explains why they insist on getting the physical card even after they have been enrolled and issued their NIN.

“NIMC is focused on establishing ‘foundation identity’ (who you are) as the issuing authority for Nigeria, while all other institutions, including the banks and INEC, are focused on ‘functional identity’ (whether you are eligible for a specific service).” Onyepunuka emphasised that functional identities established pursuant to various organisations’ databases, such as the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and Taxpayer Identification Number, among others, are not substitute for NIN.

“Therefore, citizens must ensure that they are enrolled into the National Identity Database (NIDB) by September 1, the effective date of commencement of the mandatory use of NIN.”

The agency disclosed that there are about 404 enrolment centres nationwide, and that cards were currently been issued in the state offices across the nation and that the Federal Capital Territory, adding that the exercise would be hastened as soon as the commission scales up its facilities and infrastructure.

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