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Civil Society To Monitor $430m National Identity Fund

A civil society has asked the National Identity Management Commission to ensure transparency and accountability in the utilization of the $430m fund it got from the World Bank.

Its members said they would be actively involved in the monitoring of the funds meant to support the national identity project.

The Convention on Business Integrity, in a communiqué issued at the end of its sixth Regulatory Conversations in Lagos, said it would partner other human rights groups to ensure proper service delivery by the agency.

The regulatory conversation with the theme ‘National Identity Number: Matters Arising and Implications for Nation Building’ attracted participants from many groups, the private sector, agencies of government and the media.

Stakeholders called on the management of the NIMC to “enhance the accountability and transparency in its operations and to provide clarity to the public in terms of its service delivery to citizens.”

They called on the NIMC to set clear rules with requisite checks and balances on its engagement of the private sector as part of its delivery mechanism of the national identity project.

They noted that only one-third of Nigerians had been registered by the NIMC after many years, saying this would have a huge impact on the well-being of the society, especially in terms of planning for the provision of social services.

Stakeholders pointed out that resources for registration of citizens were insufficient, especially in rural areas due to underfunding while poor electricity and Internet access affected the process in rural communities.

They called for a review of the entire registration process in order to ensure the efficiency of identity registration.

“The whole management of data registration process requires review to drive further efficiency given that it has now become a requirement to provide a National Identity Number before one can access certain government services such as obtaining a passport, renewing the driver’s license, registering for some national examinations, and so on,” the communiqué read in part.

They suggested an automated system that would register and give Nigerians their unique NIN from birth.

They added, “Data management strategy has some challenges. The government should pay attention to data management strategy from the beginning and should get the expertise and ensure that the cost of such expertise is covered as part of the funding for the National Identity Number.

“Government should put in place the necessary measures for a stress-free, continuous, seamless and gradual approach to the NIN registration to avoid the stampede that accompanies the issuance of deadlines for registration as experienced during the JAMB/NECO registration process.”

According to the communiqué, there is a need for proper orientation and adequate information dissemination to Nigerians on the process and timing for the NIN registration by NIMC.

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Written by PH

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