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Senate pursues identity management reform as NIMC act repeal bill passes second reading

Senate introduces Bill to create new state, Tiga from Kano

A Bill to repeal and reenact the National Identity Management Bill, 2027 passed second reading at the Senate on Tuesday.

The Bill seeks to enact a new regulatory regime for the National Identity Management Commission, and was sponsored by Barau Jibrin, the Deputy Senate President.

The objectives of the Bill include expanding the Scope of Registrable Persons by broadening the eligibility criteria for registration under the Nigeria ID System to ensure inclusivity and universal coverage.

This proposal will allow all persons resident in Nigeria to obtain a National Identification Number (NIN) and utilise it as a recognised form of identification.

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The Bill also seeks to enhancing enforcement powers of the NIMC to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the Commission to ensure timely and accurate compliance with ID registration requirements. This proposal is expected to ensure a more streamlined registration process, thereby reducing bureaucratic hurdles and enhancing the reliability of the Nigeria ID System.

The proposed legislation also aims at removing criminalization for non-use of NIN, replacing criminal penalties with administrative enforcement measures instead of imposing undue legal consequences on individuals.

Another objective of the Bill is to streamline the sharing of personal data by incorporating robust data protection measures to not only safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of individuals’ data but also to foster trust among citizens in the landing of their information.

The Bill also seeks to enhancing the NIMC’s regulatory capacity to enable more effective oversight and regulation of the Nigeria ID System; and strengthen the NIMC’s role in harmonising various identification systems across Ministries, Departments and Agencies to promote interoperability and coherence across different sectors.

Leading debate on the Bill during plenary, Cyril Fasuyi, the Senator representing Ekiti North argued that the Bill represents a significant legislative endeavour aimed at enhancing the efficiency and inclusivity of the Identity Management System through comprehensive provisions designed to improve and update the extant provisions in line with global best practices.

He said the proposed legislation is crucial for the socioeconomic and political development of the country, as a robust identity management system forms the foundation for national security and an effective identity management system.

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“This is imperative, especially with technological advancement, which has led to an astronomical rise in crimes relating to identity theft globally”, he added.

“The legislative intents and purports of the Bill, are geared towards achieving several objectives aimed at fostering inclusion, universal coverage, and accessibility. Unarguably, this will unlock significant financial and security benefits for the nation”, he further said.

After debate on the Bill, the Senate President who presided over the session put the Billto a voice vote , and majority of Senators voted that the Bill be read for a second time.