The Nigeria Immigration Service has announced that with effect from 1st January 2018, citizens must have a national identity number before applying for the country’s passport.
Comptroller General of the Service, Mohammed Babadede stated this while speaking to Journalists at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Comptroller General, who was at the State House for a meeting of the National Identity Management and Harmonization Committee, said the decision was taken in line with the country’s decision to harmonize the data of all its citizens.
“We have agreed that from 1st January 2018, anybody who is going to apply for the Nigerian Passport, whether renewal or fresh, must first have a national identity number. Why we are doing this is we want to ease business for Nigerians. There is no need for you to go and have your bio metric captured by NIMC and then you come and capture again with the Nigeria Immigration. Once you give us your NIM-C number we will collect the bio metric from NIM-C and produce your passport. That is the intention to do in all other agencies,” he said.
Babadede said foreigners residing in Nigeria were not exempted, as they will also require a national identity number when renewing their residence permit.
“I have also given directive that any foreigner, non Nigerian resident in Nigeria will not get his permit renewed. He or she will not get his renewal until he has a NIM-C number. To achieve this, NIM-C and passport numbers will be harmonized and we are committed to allow NIM-C in Immigration. All NIM-C staff can work in our passport offices. So when you come to get the passport you can also get the National identity card. The NIM-C has also allowed immigration staff to work in their offices so anybody who is coming to claim Nigerian citizenship; they will help to identify that citizen. That is the cooperation that we have had so far,” the immigration boss stated
It could be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that all agencies working with the personal data of Nigerian citizens harmonize their records, in order to avoid duplication of same.
The agencies include the National Identity Management Commission NIM-C, Nigeria Immigration Service, the Independent National Electoral commission INEC and the National Population Commission NPC, among others.
Meanwhile, the National Identity Management and Harmonization Committee declared that a lot of progress has been made towards achieving a single data for all citizens of the country.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Information Communication Technology ICT, Mr Lanre Osibona disclosed this after a meeting of the committee at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“We just had a good meeting in terms of national identity which we know is a great asset for the country and so much work has been ongoing with respect to harmonizing all the silo data bases. We are making progress finally,” he said.
The Presidential aide, who listed some of the benefits of a harmonized data, also said the country is receiving a lot of support from some international agencies.
“The benefits of national identity are immense, security, innovation, social inclusion, financial inclusion. This concerns our citizens and it helps in forecasting budget, better planning. So we are determined to ensure that we deliver full concise database for all Nigerians. It is good to also share with you that when we came in about two years ago there were five million records of NIM-C but today we have moved it close to 20 million and we intend to have up to 30 million by the end of this year. We are working with the World Bank and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to have a proper approach of how we will be able to capture over 180 million over a three year period,” he said.
He further said Nigeria has captured the Public Key Infrastructure PKI, which will sit within the National Information Technology Development Agency NITDA.
“An intention of this is to allow for digital signing of key documents being able to authenticate our document digitally,” he said.