Does Nigeria truly need another identification system? 

Under the aegis of the federal government, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has taken a decisive step towards digital transformation by establishing a steering committee dedicated to the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Ecosystem project.

Led by George Akume, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the committee is on a mission to create secure digital identities for all Nigerians, improve service provision, and drive economic advancement. Abisoye Coker-Odusote, the Director-General of NIMC, highlighted the project’s significant socio-economic advantages and expressed gratitude to stakeholders for their unwavering backing.

In her words:

“The Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Program represents a bold and ambitious initiative aimed at leveraging digital technologies to enhance service delivery, improve governance, and unlock opportunities for our citizens.”

Abisoye Coker-Odusote, Director-General of NIMC via Vanguard

The committee’s mandate includes ensuring alignment with international best practices and respecting citizens’ privacy rights.

But does Nigeria need another identification system?

This endeavour, though, brings concerns about its necessity to the forefront, given the plethora of existing identification methods.

The debate centres on the absolute need for a new digital identification framework when multiple systems are already in place, such as the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) and the National Identification Number (NIN), which should be interconnected and digitally accessible by the government. Here are the perspectives of Nigerians on this issue:

With a growing lack of efficiency regarding the existing systems, it is only fair to call for improving these systems rather than creating new ones. However, these are the early days of the digital identification system. It could be a step in the right direction for an easily accessible and secure national database, or it could turn out like its forebears. Only time will tell.


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Grace Hans-Bello

In love with all things artsy and beautiful. That, of course, includes the women I write about.

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