By Aanuoluwa Omotosho and Oluwatobi Opusunju
The Nigerian government has said it will aggressively implement its data harmonisation policy across all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and targets no more than 14 months to fully harmonise and integrate all existing identification databases in government agencies so as to integrate them into the National Identity Database (NIDB).
Beginning with the Bank Verification Number (BVN, managed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card registration by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), driver’s licence by the Federal Road Safety Commission and National Identity card by the National Identity Management Commission, (NIMC), government said it would ensure full compliance by all MDAs to integrate their data infrastructures with the NIDB.
The NIDB is statutorily managed by the National Identity Management Commission, (NIMC). But a proliferation and duplication of biometric-based identity systems in the country by various MDAs and private enterprises that include the immigration services, police, banks and telecom operators among others have rendered biometric services and usage colossally ineffective in spite of the establishment of the NIMC to provide a central data management platform.
A worried government had set up a harmonisation programme under the Office of the Vice President to ensure that all MDAs align their existing infrastructure as data collection agents to the NIMC system. The thrust being to make data gathering and access more effective and speedy as well as to guaranty the fidelity of the data. Agencies like the Nigerian Communication Commission had already
“Apart from being unwieldy, the cost of operating multiple discordant databases and infrastructure is untenable and not security smart,” said Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mrs Habiba Lawal, recently in Abuja while inaugurating the Governing Board of the NIMC. The new board of nine members is chaired by Mr. Olagunsoye Oyinlola, a former governor of Osun State.
The law mandates NIMC to manage the NIDB in addition to its other primary duties that include to provide and regulate identity management in Nigeria; and to issue National Identification Number (NIN) and ID card to all registrable persons. But the commission has had to battle other agencies as the primary self for data management and storage while others are, by law, to be data-collecting agencies on behalf of the NIMC.
“The NIMC must focus its energy on ensuring that the remaining component of the National Identity Management System (NIMS) roll-out alignment and switching over by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) through the harmonization and integration framework is successfully implemented,” said Lawal while charging the new board to help NIMC achieve its goals.