President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, said the ongoing synchronisation of National Identification Number with SIM cards will help the nation to easily identify crooks.
Speaking while inaugurating the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in Nigerian Telecoms Sector and Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Cards registration at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Buhari urged Nigerians to fully participate in the exercise.
He said it will provide a digital framework for improving security and strengthening the economy.
The President said proper identification of all Nigerians and legal residents in the country and the ability to conveniently access a database would provide an impetus for more effective planning and security oversight.
“The NIN will cover one of the weaknesses in our security structure. We will be able to easily identify and know the personality of Nigerians. We will identify people easily, including the crooks,’’ he said.
“The National Identification Number is the foundational digital ID for the country; both Nigerian citizens and legal residents are expected to obtain the NIN. It will provide access to government services and will give government useful insights that will enable us to utilize scarce resources in a more efficient way.”
The President said there had been many futile attempts to promote the use of digital identity in the past, stressing that “Previous attempts have been unsuccessful due to a number of reasons, including sabotage. Our focused approach shows that this administration is dedicated to ensuring that we derive the benefits of a secure and robust digital identity system.”
Buhari said the National Policy for Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector was in line with the administration’s commitment towards ensuring that Nigerians become active participants in the different sectors of the economy, including the telecommunications sector.
He said the Information and Communications Technology sector’s 14.70 per cent double digit growth rate played a principal role in supporting our country to exit the recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his remarks, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, who appreciated the President for the continuous support to the telecoms sector, including regulators and operators, thanked him for the keen interest in ensuring that the security sector gets a boost with more information on Nigerians and legal residents.
The minister noted that the NIN registration had recorded a huge success with 54 million Nigerians already captured in the process, adding, “within six months over 12 million enrolled.’’
Dr Pantami said it was now possible to have virtual ID cards that can be used in various transactions, assuring that the NIN and Sim card registration for Nigerians and legal residents will cover 99.9 per cent.
He said the buoyancy of the telecoms sector had given Nigeria many leadership roles in international organisations, listing the impact on education, training, health and welfare of many, including the establishment of 600 computer centres, and a world class sim card manufacturing company in the country.