The main mobile network operators in Nigeria, MTN, Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile are among 173 private sector organisations recently licensed to conduct enrolment of Nigerians into the National Identity Database (NIDB) on behalf of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) (SIM NIN Registration). The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), also approved a total of 30 other State Governments/Public Sector Institutions to conduct enrolment of Nigerians and legal residents for the NIMC.
Also, Etranzact, VDT Communications, Unified Payment Services were among successful licensees.
The Director-General/Chief Executive of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu Aziz, who disclosed this in Abuja, said the approval was made after the agents successfully fulfilled all the conditions in the advertised Expression of Interest (EOI) which was done in 2019 as a first step towards the take off the National Digital Identity Ecosystem project. SIM NIN registration is a core part of this project.
On its part, MTN Nigeria, one of the mobile network operators, plans to begin SIM NIN registration with no fewer than 54,000 equipment nationwide shortly.
According to Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO, MTN is taking the issue of SIM NIN registration very seriously.
He stated that the telecommunications firm had 14,000 enrolment equipment in the country, but was waiting for additional 40,000 to begin full-scale enrolment at its various centres across the country.
According to him, a breakdown of the successful licensees shows that 16 state governments were licensed, including Abia, Akwa Ibom, Gombe, Lagos, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Oyo, Ogun, Sokoto and Zamfara states.
Seven NGOs, namely Africa Youth Growth Foundation, An Nadaa Educational Foundation Arrida Relief Foundation, Hadejia Ina Mafita Initiative Community Based Organisation Mimido Initiative & Development and Murna Foundation were also licensed.
The NIMC boss said the licensing of SIM NIN registration agents was in line with the Federal Government’s strategy to scale up enrolment and issuance of the National Identification Number (NIN) to Nigerians and legal residents, thereby liberalising the enrolment process and opening up the sector for multiple players.
“The Digital Identity Ecosystem project’s goal is to increase the number of enrolment centres in the country from the current meagre1000 to 10,000 and enrolment figures from the current figure of 43 million to 200 million within the next five years.
“The initiative is one of the cardinal pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS). It is driven by the NIMC working with the public and private service-providers as partners, including State/Local Governments, Public Institutions, Civil Society Organisations, and qualified private vendors for the enrolment of Nigerians and legal residents in Nigeria into a centralised and secure National Identity Database.
“The initiative is also to support the Federal Government’s effort at tackling insecurity in the country.