Over 100 million Nigerians have no official identity, the Director General (DG), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Aziz has said.
This was even as he sought improved funding for data collection and usage. The commission’s DG made the disclosure in his presentation at the National Defence College, Abuja. According to him, the figure typically covers the poorest and most vulnerable groups, including marginalized women and girls, less-educated people migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, people with disabilities, and people living in rural and remote areas.
“Inclusive and trusted ID systems can help achieve the goals of empowering individuals and enhancing their access to rights, services, and the formal economy, strengthening the transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness of governance and service delivery, supporting private sector development and service delivery, growing the digital economy regional and global integration and generating reliable and continuous statistics to measure progress and inform policy,” he said.
He explained that only about 38 percent of the population have any form of ID, 61 percent of the people live below the poverty line, 22 percent of labour force involve the unemployed youth, 52.7percent of the population are 24 years and below while 5.9 percent of the population are above 60 years (pensioners).
“A nation cannot truly be a sovereign state if it does not know its people or have a unique way of identifying them! Government’s knowledge of its people (citizens and residents) is fundamental to planning.
“This knowledge must begin at birth with birth registration, and then extended to the issuance of a unique identifier through a national system (identification for life). It must extend to who you are, where you live, your social and economic circumstances, etc.”
While stressing the need for improved funding capacity for data collection and usage, he said the government needs to make and enforce relevant laws, regulations, and standards fit for evolving data needs and data protection.
Also, he said production and usage of data will help understand the overall state of the nation and its developmental and performance goals.