The new e-ID card was supposed to be
the super app of civil registers and traditional ID cards, combining digitally
verifiable identification with the ability to make electronic payments, and
even withdraw cash at ATMs.
Long story short, it flopped. As had
a previous attempt made 10 years prior.
A 2019 court order finally put a
temporary halt to new card issuance after a paltry 1.2
million cards had been issued. NIMC then
switched attention from e-cards to simply issuing paper-printed National
Identification Numbers (NINs). So far, NIMC has successfully registered over 71
million Nigerian residents and
citizens, representing roughly 35% of the population.
Now Nigeria’s identity management
office is rolling out the next phase of its ambitious digital ID programme, a
virtual e-ID that anonymises the personally identifiable information used for
On the one hand, it’s a long-overdue
milestone, and on the other hand, it is a confidence signal that the government
is serious about digitally ID-ing Nigerians.