Nigeria’s national eID card scheme has been officially launched. In the pilot phase, the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) will issue MasterCard-branded identity cards with electronic payments functionality to 13 million Nigerians.
This initiative is the largest roll-out of a biometric-based verification card with an electronic payment solution in the country and the broadest financial inclusion programme in Africa.
The eID card forms a key component of the Nigerian Identity Management System, deployed by NIMC as part of its mandate to create, maintain and operate the country’s first central National Identity Database and provide proof of identity to Nigerians 16 years and older.
The card has 13 applications, including MasterCard’s prepaid payment technology and Cryptovision’s biometric identification technology. NIMC is working with several government agencies to integrate and harmonise all identity databases including the Driver’s Licence, Voter Registration, Health Insurance, Tax, SIM and the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) into a single, shared services platform.
“The National eID programme enables us to create an optimised common platform for Nigerian citizens to easily interact with the various government agencies and to transact electronically,” says Chris ‘E Onyemenam, director general and CEO of NIMC. “There are many use cases for the card, including the potential to use it as an international travel document, which will have significant implications for border control in Nigeria and West Africa.”
To receive the eID card, Nigerians aged 16 and above need to register at one of the hundreds of NIMC enrolment centres nationwide. The enrolment process involves the recording of an individual’s demographic data and biometric data (capture of 10 fingerprints, facial picture and iris) to authenticate the cardholder and ensure that there are no duplicates on the system. Upon registration, NIMC issues each Nigerian with a unique National Identification Number (NIN), followed by the national eID card. Upon completion of the pilot programme, NIMC plans to introduce more than 100 million cards to Nigeria’s 167 million citizens.
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