Professor Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has urged security agencies to use databases from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) to address the country’s security challenges.
He made the remarks during the 4th National Identity Day celebration in Abuja, the nation’s capital, with the theme “Traditional Institutions as Critical Stakeholders for Citizens Mobilisation.”
Pantami revealed that, based on the information at his disposal, security institutions were not making extensive use of the two databases.
“From the information available at my disposal, from the CEOs of these two institutions, the utilisation has been highly insignificant. It is because of this we are pleading that if they can leverage on this, we have no doubt they will be able to address the significant challenges of security we are been confronted with.”
The Minister who explained that the database has been sanitised urged security agencies across the country to make use of them
“It is not our work to do the security work, our work is to support them. The two databases are available for NIN and for SIM.
“If we have a complete database in Nigeria with all the challenges we have when it comes to education, health security and many more will be resolved. We also have a national population commission that works hand in hand with NIMC.
“In most of the developed countries you know, or you have been hearing about. You cannot go there and live or work without a social security number. So why is it difficult for us in Nigeria? We always admire when we visit places but it is difficult for us to make adjustments so that we can be that responsible society that we admire from afar. We cannot be there until we make sacrifices.”
According to NIMC Director General Aliyu Aziz, the Commission is collaborating with traditional rulers and institutions to raise awareness about the importance of NIN registration and use.
He urged traditional institutions to play an active role in rallying support for government initiatives such as the National Identification Project.
“Identification is a tool for empowerment and greater use of digital ID can help bring the much-needed governance and coordination in development and service delivery.”
He spoke on the importance of NIN, stressing that “The more government knows the accurate number of its population and the right demographics, the better the government is placed to plan well for infrastructure, social welfare, and economic development for the country.
“This, therefore, underscores the importance of identity, and directly links to the importance of today’s commemoration of the Nigerian National Identity Day.”
The high point of the event was the conferment of the Champion of Digital Identity award on Professor Isa Pantami by NIMC.
The International Identity Day, ID-Day is celebrated on 16 September of every year in commemoration of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16.9 which calls for the provision of legal identity for all by 2030, including birth registration.