By Jessica Dogo
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the transfer of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
A statement signed by the Minister’s Spokesperson, Mrs Uwa Suleiman, on Monday in Abuja, said that the approval was based on Buhari’s consideration for the critical role of NIMC towards the realisation of the objectives of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria (NDEPS).
Suleiman explained that it was an effort to ensure synergy and effective ministry supervisory mechanism was put in place to coordinate, monitor and track the progress of Federal Government’s digital transformation initiatives.
She explained that the directives was an illustration of Buhari’s vote of confidence on the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami based on an unprecedented performance.
The spokesperson noted that within his first year in office, the Minister had resolved the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Sector’s decade-long dilemma of Right of Way charges.
According to her, he was also able to secure the President’s approval for the provision of security as well as designation of Telecommunications Infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure.
“Regularisation of improperly registered SIM cards and deactivation of unregistered ones, the deployment of over 250 digital projects across the country under his policies and supervision as well as built the capacity of over 36,000 Nigerians.
“It may be recalled that NIMC is mandated to create, manage, maintain and operate the National Identity Database established by the NIMC Act, 2007.
“In an effort to realise this, the Commission has so far registered around 41 million eligible enrollees for the National Identity Number (NIN).
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on the other hand has details of over 191 million mobile subscribers.”
She, however, explained that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) had recorded huge successes in the development and implementation of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), the country’s first codified data protection regulation.
NITDA had also reached an advanced stage on the implementation of the National Public Key Infrastructure (NPKI).
She noted that Galaxy Backbone Limited (GBB) also provides services to Government Agencies-Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service.
Hence, the need therefore for NIMC, NCC, NITDA and GBB to work closely together under the supervision of one Ministry towards harnessing what has already been achieved cannot be overemphasised.
“The NIN, considered as a social security as well as civil number, was very important for economic planning and social intervention.
“With government’s digitalisation initiatives in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, access to services and interventions will require it.
“We therefore urge all eligible individuals to enroll as soon as possible. Furthermore, the Honourable Minister is assuring Nigerians as well as residents that appropriate measures will be put in place to ensure that opportunities for enrolment are provided to all.