The total number of registrations and National Identity Numbers (NINs) issued by the National Identity Management Commission has surged by over 400 percent in one year.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), it rose by 439.1 percent to 27.1 million in 2021 from 5.0 million in 2020. From 2019, it also grew by 364.0 percent.
A breakdown of the report showed that Kaduna state recorded the highest number of registration and NIN issued in 2019 with 595,284. This was followed by Lagos and Kano with 560,757, and 485,912 respectively.
However, in 2020, Lagos state recorded the highest number of registration and NINs issued with 523,901, followed by Kaduna with 471,858, and Kano with 373,352. In 2021, Kano state recorded the highest with 3.4 million, followed by Lagos with three million and Kaduna with 1.4 million.
“In addition, analysis by geo-political zone showed that for the three-year period, the North-West recorded the highest number of registration and national identity number issued with 1.8 million, 1.5 million, and 8.7 million in 2019, 2020, and 2021 respectively,” the report said.
It said the South-East had the lowest number of registration and national identity numbers issued with 414,089, 360,332 and 1.6 million respectively.
NIN is a set of numbers assigned to an individual upon successful enrolment. It helps to tie all records about a person in the database and is used to check the identity verified and also helps the government verify the identity of those needing essential social services.
It consists of the recording of an individual’s demographic data and capture of the 10 fingerprints, head-to-shoulder facial picture and digital signature, which are all used to cross-check existing data in the National Identity Database to confirm that there is no previous entry of the same data, according to National Identity Management Commission.
The surge in NIN registration can be attributed to various factors, including the federal government’s response to increasing insecurity in the Nigerian telecoms sector.
To combat kidnappers who used unregistered SIM cards to contact victims’ families for ransom, the government implemented a ban on the sale and activation of new SIM cards in December 2020.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, was mandated to enforce SIM registration and linkage with the NIN.
“The objective of the exercise was to verify and ensure compliance by mobile network operators with the set quality standards and requirements of SIM card registration as issued by the Federal Ministry of Communications and digital economy and the commission,” NCC said.
The World Bank expects 148 million Nigerians to have a NIN by 2024 through the digital Identification for Development (ID4D) roadmap.
The objective of the project is to increase the number of persons with a national identification (ID) number, issued by a robust and inclusive foundational ID system that facilitates their access to services.
Apart from 148 million enrollments, the World Bank expects 65 million registrants to be women and 50 million to be children.