The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it has so far registered over 113 million subscriber identification module (simcard) on its database just as Nigerians were able to use their trackable identity to make purchases of N630 million on Paypal, leading e-commerce merchant service provider in 2015.
Mr. Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs, NCC who disclosed this while delivering a paper entitled: Trackable identity and ease of doing business in Nigeria at a one-day forum of the Directors/Heads of Public Relations Departments organised by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relation of Nigeria (NIPR) held in Lagos yesterday.
He said Trackable Identity could simply be seen as our ability to identify an individual through some natural physiological features as may be shown by photographs or marks and such other characteristics. But today it is being more associated with the ability to identify a particular person in cyberspace, or in electronic devices which offers digital identification.
According to Ojobo, the scope of trackable identity is being widened within the digital world to include tracking objects with application of tags that could be linked to a mobile phone, or other devices. “Trackable identities have gone to the level of sophistication where individuals have chips implanted on them for purposes of having exclusive access to locations or files or be recognized.
Identity Trackable Projects in Nigeria include SIM Card Registration: NIS, International Passport, BVN, Driving License, Voter Id card/PVC, National Health Insurance Scheme, FIRS, DNA Forensic lab from Lagos Residents Registration Agency, LASRA, National Population Commission (Plans to do biometric registration for 2018 Census), etc.
He said in Nigeria, the project of citizen registration and identification has been a long and tortious journey worsened by lack of harmonised birth registration which are nonexistent in most cases. “The most serious attempt was the establishment of the Nigerian Identity Management Commission through NIMC Act 23 of 2007, which was an offshoot of the Department of National Civic Registration.
“This agency is mandated to create and maintain a unique national identity data base, assign unique National Identification Number, provide authentication platform for identity verification issue card and harmonize existing identification data bases in Nigeria. As at September 2017, NIMC, the citizen registration authority in Nigeria, has been able to register 18.5 million citizens” Ojobo said.
The NCC spokesman added that in spite of whatever challenges, the global trend is for all citizens to be registered, and for each citizen to be covered with a legal identity including birth registrations, he said. Citizen registration is now an item in Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda with 2.4 Billion people identified as having no official identity and these people reside in Africa and Asia.
“While traditional Identification rely on passwords, PINs, smart cards, and the like, Biometric Identification using finger prints and iris scans are generally more reliable and secure. They are adopted more universally like in driving licenses and international passports. Biometrics identity are also more reliable in linking individuals to event and actions. It is therefore preferred by security institutions in fighting crimes,” Ojobo noted.