The National Identity Management Commission on Wednesday said about 11 million Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) had been harmonised with National Identification Numbers (NIN).
NIMC also disclosed that 42 million Nigerians now have unique identity numbers while declaring that the commission is currently registering about 500,000 people every month for National Identification Numbers.
The disclosure came as the commission announced that it had shifted focus for NIN registration to rural areas and Internally Displaced Persons camps.
The Director-General, NIMC, Abubakar Aziz, disclosed this to journalists at the second edition of the annual event marking the observance and celebration of 16th September as National Identity Day.
Aziz also stated that free registration for NIN would end in five years, adding that currently about 42 million Nigerians had unique identifications.
He stated that by working with other organisations, in what he described as an ecosystem, the NIMC had been able to rapidly grow the number of people being registered for NIN.
The DG said, “We believe that with the ecosystem we will register more people. Right now we average like 500,000 in one month. With the ecosystem, we are going to multiply this number to about three to five million people in a month.
“So within two to three years we should be able to enroll everyone and give the digital identification, but the country’s population and its rate of growth is our major challenge.”
Explaining why the commission had decided to shift its focus to rural areas and IDP camps, Aziz said it was because most people in urban centres had different forms of identification.
He said, “The focus for NIN registration is now channeled to the people at the grassroots. This is because most of us in towns have passports, drivers licence, bank accounts/BVN, voters card, etc.
“So the focus should be on our brothers and sisters in the rural areas, who require palliatives and assistance from government.
“The mode of registration is to go to them where they are and ask the ministry in charge of them to give the list of people in these camps.”
The NIMC boss insisted that registration for NIN was free, but noted that in three to five years’ time, it might be paid for.
He said, “Your first contact with NIMC is to register and get the NIN. That first contact is free. Government has declared that it is free of any form of charge.
“And for the next three to five years that we said everybody should be registered, it is going to be free.
“It is only when government finishes up to five years and there is somebody who did not register and the person is an adult that he may like pay.”
He said the NIMC had harmonised identification numbers with 11 million Bank Verification Numbers out of the 14 million BVN received by the commission.
On the number of persons with unique identifications, Aziz said 42 million people had been captured and had unique NINs.
He stated that for digital purposes, what was essential to every citizen was the identification number and not an identification card.