The Federal Government has pledged substantial investment in data harmonisation through the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). This development was disclosed by the Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, during a meeting with a delegation from MTN, headed by its Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, held in Abuja recently.
Dr. Tunji-Ojo emphasised the pivotal role data harmonisation plays in achieving success within the Ministry of Interior, asserting that it all begins with NIMC. He stressed the imperative of restoring the integrity of travel documents through the synchronisation of data, stating, “Our people should not undergo repetitive data capture processes during passport enrollment if they possess a valid National Identification Number (NIN).”
The minister underscored that the era of multiple identities is on the brink of conclusion, as NIMC has been tasked with aligning the nation’s database in tandem with President Bola Tinubu’s vision to bolster the country’s identity and security framework.
“We must institute an interior hub—a colossal data centre housing all our identity information,” he advocated.
He contended that data harmonisation would substantially reduce the burden on citizens and diminish overhead costs for the government.
“Through harmonisation, data exchange among agencies will be facilitated. This means that with their NIN, individuals can access their data for passport issuance or Bank Verification Number (BVN), obviating duplication and streamlining processes,” he elucidated.
The minister further outlined the vision of integrating information on driving licences, passports, BVNs, NINs, Subscriber Identity Modules (SIMs), and others into digital chips. This, he asserted, is pivotal for the efficient planning and execution of government initiatives aimed at expediting national development.
Positing NIMC as a linchpin in this endeavour, Dr. Tunji-Ojo emphasised the necessity of consolidating various identity numbers into a single entry point, thereby eliminating redundancy. “There is no need for us to have a BVN number, voter’s number, NIN, and passport number all at once, and this is why we have to work with NIMC to ensure that we harmonise all these and do away with these duplications,” he insisted.
The minister acknowledged the instrumental role of private sector entities like MTN in realising this vision, stating, “There must be a way to inject private partnerships to help us achieve our objectives. For us, we are open to partnerships from private sector players, as NIMC may not have the full financial capacity to fulfil the ambition.”
This announcement signifies a major stride towards a more efficient and streamlined identity registration system, promising substantial benefits for both citizens and government agencies alike.