The Federal Government has ordered commercial banks to provide Nigerians with national identity debit cards.
Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, said this in Abuja on Wednesday.
Pantami said the Federal Executive Council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, granted consent.
He said the clearance followed a National Identity Management Commission memo authorising banks to create multipurpose debit cards that double as national identity cards.
“It is going to be a form of multipurpose card where it will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other hand, either Mastercard, Visa or any other kind of card,” the Minister said.
Pantami said Nigerians want printed cards even though the NIMC Act 2007 simply requires a National Identity Number.
The NIMC Act 2007, section 27, requires citizens and legal residents to obtain the National Identity Number, not the card. Card is optional.
“But many citizens, especially rural ones, always go to NIMC offices complaining that they need the card at hand, even though it’s optional.
“NIMC last year introduced a smart ID card you can download from NIMC app to make it easier. Smart card. You don’t need it physically, but rural folks are finding it hard.”
Pantami said NIMC had worked with the Central Bank of Nigeria “so that citizens who are interested in having a card at hand can easily go to the relevant banks” to make it easier.
He said the bank can produce the card with a Mastercard or Visa.
It will be a versatile card that functions as both a national identity card and a bank card. The arrangement doesn’t cost our citizens.
“So when you apply for a bank card, you can say ‘I want this card to be multiple purposes where it will serve as my bank card and my national identity card’.
“Both of them will be printed on the same card and serve the same purposes without any additional costs.”
The Minister revealed that NIMC and the CBN signed a nondisclosure agreement to protect card applicants’ privacy and confidentiality. He guaranteed cardholder privacy.
Pantami added that the bank must link to the NIMC through their database to issue the card.
The bank next confirms the person’s details against the NIMC database. The user’s card is printed immediately.
The Minister also stated FEC approved a letter proposing an automated way to merge NINs with SIM cards.
He said the system will streamline the NIN-SIM linkage.
“As we all know, previous administrations tried to verify NIN and SIM starting from 2011 without success,” he stated.
On May 6, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari introduced the updated policy and approved its implementation in February 2020.
NIN and SIM policy registration is underway. consolidate implementation.
“The Nigerian Communications Commission proposed a way to improve policy implementation and reap more benefits.”
Pantami said the automated system will clean the database and simplify SIM replacement for Nigerians and legal residents.