NIgeria to Launch Three New National Identity Cards in May, Targets 104 Million Citizens


  • NIMC Unveils Bank-Enabled, Social Intervention, and ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Cards
  • Multifaceted National Identity Card Initiative Set to Address Financial Inclusion and Social Services in Nigeria

In May this year, the Federal Government is set to introduce three new national identity cards, targeting approximately 104 million citizens across Nigeria. These cards, developed by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), include a bank-enabled National ID card, a social intervention card, and an optional ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card.

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Ayodele Babalola, the Technical Adviser for Media and Communications to the Director-General of NIMC, revealed these plans in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday. He indicated that Nigerians could expect to receive these cards within one to two months after the official launch, pending Presidential approval.

The new bank-enabled National ID card aims to cater to the needs of the middle and upper segments of society, facilitating banking transactions seamlessly. Additionally, the National Safety Net Card is designed to support urgent needs for authentication and secure platforms for government services, particularly for vulnerable Nigerians benefiting from government intervention programs.

Furthermore, an optional ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card will be available, offering enhanced identification and cross-border travel capabilities in collaboration with the Nigerian Immigration Service.

This initiative follows a collaborative effort between NIMC, the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System. It aims to provide diverse options for domestic consumers while enhancing service delivery in a more innovative, cost-effective, and competitive manner.

Babalola emphasized that the new cards would address the essential need for physical identification while facilitating access to government and private social services. He also expressed hope that these cards would be distributed to the 104 million eligible applicants on the national identification number database by the end of December 2023.

The commission plans to activate the bank-enabled National ID card immediately after the launch to meet the needs of the middle and upper segments within the next one to two months. Additionally, digital/virtual versions of all cards will be available for individuals preferring digital formats, with limited functionalities.

However, experts have expressed mixed reactions to the initiative, citing concerns about duplication of efforts and data privacy issues. They suggest that existing platforms such as the National Identification Number (NIN) and Bank Verification Number (BVN) could fulfill similar purposes without the need for additional cards.

Despite the challenges, the government remains committed to enhancing digital identity infrastructure in Nigeria. This initiative marks a significant step towards inclusive and accessible services for all citizens, aligning with broader efforts to drive financial inclusion and socio-economic development.

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Godwin Okafor
Godwin Okafor
Godwin Okafor is a veteran Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur, and the visionary Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. With an extensive career spanning over 16 years in financial journalism, Godwin possesses a wealth of experience that seamlessly bridges both traditional and digital media landscapes. His journey in journalism commenced at Business Day, Nigeria, where he laid the foundation for his prolific career. In 2010, Godwin took a bold step by founding Naija247news Media, a platform that has since become a prominent player in delivering timely and accurate news. Educationally, Godwin Okafor holds a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the prestigious Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. His commitment to continuous learning led him to the Lagos Business School, where he further honed his skills. Additionally, he is recognized as a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania, having successfully completed the Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists. Throughout his illustrious career, Godwin has earned acclaim by winning numerous journalism awards, a testament to his dedication to excellence in reporting. Beyond his role as a Financial Journalist, Godwin Okafor wears the hat of the Chairman at Emmerich Resources Limited, the publishing entity behind Naija247news. His visionary leadership has played a pivotal role in shaping the media landscape and establishing Naija247news as a trusted source of information. Godwin Okafor's multifaceted expertise, commitment to journalistic integrity, and leadership in the realm of business journalism underscore his influential presence in both the media and entrepreneurial spheres.

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