The Executive Director, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), Engr. Y. Z Ya’u, has emphasized a need for the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure robust protection of Nigerian data and devise tailored solutions for the distinctive hurdles confronted by rural communities in accessing NIMC services.
Engr. Ya’u further highlighted that the failure to upload data to NIMC for rural individuals could lead to financial exclusion, as the absence of a National Identification Number (NIN) may restrict their access to specific financial services that mandate a valid form of identification.
The Executive Director, who stated this during a working visit to the corporate headquarters of NIMC, Abuja, yesterday noted that this responsibility falls on NIMC due to its position as the leading data controller in the country.
“It’s understandable that most of the rural communities in Nigeria have poor network connectivity, making it difficult for them to enroll their data. However, individuals need to have their information registered with the NIMC, as it is essential for identification and verification purposes”
“Absence of uploading data for rural people can also limit their ability to participate in the digital economy. In today’s world, many financial transactions are conducted online, and having a valid means of identification is a prerequisite for accessing many digital services. Therefore, rural people without NIN may be excluded from participating in the digital economy, which can limit their economic opportunities and overall well-being”
According to him, “There is nothing you would want to do in the digital economy without proper identity, and you can’t achieve that without adequate privacy and protection of data.”
Engr. Y. Z also added that it’s important to find solutions that work for the unique challenges faced by rural communities in accessing the NIMC. By doing so, more people can be enrolled, and the benefits of having a national identification system can be realized.
On his part, the NIMC Director General, Engr. Abdulaziz Abubakar said the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in Nigeria has been established to protect the personal data of Nigerian citizens and is responsible for the creation, management, and administration of a national identity database that will contain the personal information on all Nigerian citizens and legal residents.
He added that NIMC is committed to ensuring that all Nigerians, regardless of their location, are enrolled in the national identity database. The agency has set up registration centres in various parts of the country, including rural areas, to make it easier for people to register.
Engr. Abubakar said his commission provided Mobile Registration Centers to rural areas which make it easier for them to register for their national identity cards and collaborated with telecommunication companies in improving network coverage in rural areas to facilitate the registration process.
“NIMC cannot do it alone, and as such, we will continue to seek collaboration from stakeholders for improving and providing network coverage in rural areas,” he said.