Date 2022/02/06         Hour 10:18:14     News Group Recent International

In August 2014, Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan launched a new national identity project.

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 KYC verification. 

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.