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Nigeria prioritises NIN enrollment for cybersecurity, economic development: Pantami

Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy

*The Federal Government discloses the continuing registration for National Identification Numbers (NINs) forms the foundation for sustainable economic growth, security of Nigeria’s cyberspace, and protection for prospective investors from fraudulent elements

*NIN enrollment, now over 67 million, is a prerequisite to enjoying government services, says Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, Minister for Communications and Digital Economy

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government has disclosed the current registration for National Identification Numbers (NINs) provides the ‘foundation’ for sustainable economic growth and development, securing Nigeria’s cyberspace, and protecting investors from fraudulent elements in the ecosystem.

ConsumerConnect learnt Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, stated that the NIN enrollment exercise, which has been extended till December 31, 2021, would also enable the Nigerian Government and security agencies to know the identity of Internet service consumers in the West African country.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC; and Engr. Aliyu Aziz, Director-General of NIMC

Prof. Pantami, who noted this development at a recent sideline event of the Paris Peace Forum, titled: ‘Nigeria International Partnership Forum’, in Paris, capital of France, disclosed that the exercise would form the foundation of the Nigerian economy and overall security of the country, agency report said.

RELATED: No Going Back On NIN-SIM Integration As Criminals ‘Feel The Heat’ ─Minister

The Minister said: “Some of these initiatives that happen to be the foundation of even our economy is the introduction of the National Identification Number.

“Nigeria has joined the global community by making the use of National Identification Numbers for both citizens and legal residents mandatory.”

“This is going to be the foundation of our economy and also the foundation of our security that whoever happens to go online, his identity will be known by the Federal Government and also by our security institutions.”

Efforts at protecting Nigeria’s cyberspace

ConsumerConnect had reported as part of consumer awareness on cybersecurity, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), and other associated government agencies have intensified sensitisation and citizen engagement at various fora across the country.

RELATED Special Report: NCC, Stakeholders’ Conversations On Benefits Of NIN-SIM Integration At 3rd TCTHR

The regulatory agencies have also enlightened the Nigerian consumers on the benefits of NIN registration as well as integration of NINs with their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards.

Accordingly, Prof. Pantami noted in a move to address cybersecurity, the Federal Government has cleaned up the country’s database by blocking over 24 million SIM cards that were improperly registered, or completely unregistered and could be used for cybercrime.

As a result, the Minister said the West African country has moved higher on the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) global index.

READ ALSO: NCC Warns Telecoms Consumers Against Linking Their NINs To Other Subscribers’ SIM Cards

The feat, he told the global audience in Paris, was achieved with the introduction of deliberate policies and programmes, including visa on arrival, electronic processing of visas, online registration of businesses and tax holidays introduced in over 50 areas of the Nigerian economy.

‘Primary responsibility of government is security of citizens’

Pantami further stated: “As in our 1999 Constitution (as amended) Section 14(2)(b), that the primary responsibility of government is security and safety of its citizens.

“It is because of this that President Muhammadu Buhari is very passionate about that, and he has been pushing that we establish the foundation of our economy and the foundation of our security on the National Identification Number, so that identity of our citizens and legal residents will be known.

According to him, “as it is today, the enrollment has been over 67 million and most importantly we are able to capture the most important category of people that come out to do businesses.”

RELATED: NIMC Alerts Nigerians To NIN, National E-ID Card Frauds

Pantami said the NIN enrollment exercise had been made seamless with the increase of enrollment centres from 1,600 to 6,000, with an enrollment centre or two in every country for Nigerians in the Diaspora.

Over 10 enrolment centres were set up in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) to address the needs of many Nigerians in these foreign countries.

The NIN database, Pantami noted, was planned in such a way that people who are between 15 and 60 years of age were captured first, and 92 percent of Nigerians in that category had been captured in the system.

He also stated that the focus is currently on the younger population who are between one and 14 years of age.

NIN now a requirement for accessing government services ─Pantami

The Minister as well noted that having a NIN as a Nigerian is a prerequisite to enjoying government services, besides bringing peace of mind to potential investors in the country.

READ ALSO: NCC Sensitises Telecoms Consumers On NIN-SIM Integration

“So, it becomes a prerequisite to enjoying government services; and I believe this will bring more peace of mind to potential investors to know that the government has been doing something significant in that regard,” said he.

The Minister for Communications and Digital Economy said: “Recently, the country has also launched and commissioned a National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics that focuses more on research and coming up with innovative solutions in the area of security.

“Now, the centre in collaboration with security institutions, is in the process of developing robots and many more that are going to be deployed to make our country safe and sound.”

In regard to Nigerians’ enjoying specific services in the economy, Prof. Pantami also stressed that  “you cannot open an account, process travelling passport, or a driver licence without obtaining NIN, and it has become a prerequisite to accessing government services and to bring peace of mind to prospective investors.”

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