The goal of the Federal Government’s May 2018 launch of three new national identity cards is to issue them to approximately 104 million citizens nationwide.

The National Identity Management Commission plans to introduce three new national identity cards: an optional ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card, a social intervention card, and a bank-enabled National ID card.

Nigerians would begin receiving the three national ID cards within one or two months of the launch, according to Ayodele Babalola, the Technical Adviser, Media, and Communications to the Director-General of NIMC, who revealed these details in an interview on Sunday.

He did, however, clarify that the launch date of May was contingent upon the President’s approval.”Within the next one or two months after launch, we expect the bank-enabled National ID to meet the needs of the middle and upper segments who typically use banks,” said Babalola.

In the next month or two, the National Safety Net Card will also be activated to fulfill the pressing need for authentication and a safe platform for government services like palliative care.

The 25 million Nigerians who are deemed vulnerable and supported by the ongoing government intervention programs will be the main focus.All cards will be offered in virtual or digital form, albeit with fewer features, for those who prefer digital formats. In addition, ECOWAS cards will be provided in conjunction with the Nigerian Immigration Service as needed, he continued.

The Identity Commission announced plans to introduce a national identity card with multiple uses on Friday. It clarified that the identity solution included the ability to make payments for all kinds of financial and social services.

In line with a statement released by NIMC on Friday, the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System, the Central Bank of Nigeria, and NIMC collaborated on this initiative. It seeks to provide more options for domestic customers while encouraging more creative, economical, and competitive service delivery.

Babalola clarified that the new card would do away with the requirement for physical identification by enabling cardholders to authenticate themselves, obtain access to public and private social services, help marginalized Nigerians become financially included, empower the populace, and foster increased involvement in national development projects.

By the end of December 2023, he stated, the commission hoped to have distributed the cards to 104 million eligible applicants on the national identification number database.”To revive the general multipurpose card issuance, we will be implementing the following programs: first, we will work with NIBSS and banks to create a bank-enabled national ID card, and second, we will create a social intervention card under the National Safety Net Card.

An optional ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card will be introduced in the third phase.”We are considering May for a potential launch, but that also requires the president’s approval. All that is left to do is tie up a few crucial details. AfriGo, a division of the central bank, will power the project, but the president is ultimately in charge of everything.

The CBN introduced AfriGo in January 2023 with the goals of promoting card-based financial inclusion and enhancing data sovereignty.With a focus on the continent, AfriGO was founded in Nigeria.

The term “GO” stands for progress, empowerment, inclusivity, and looking forward to the future, while “AFRI” represents culture, ethnic diversity, bravery, innovation, and growth.

This initiative comes several months after Shubham Chaudhuri, the Country Director of the World Bank for Nigeria, announced plans to work with the National Identity Management Commission to successfully roll out and register digital national IDs for every Nigerian citizen.

148 million people of working age should have digital national IDs by the middle of 2024, according to Chaudhuri, who made this bold goal known during a meeting with Bosun Tijani, the minister of communication and digital economy.

This would be a major step toward inclusion and accessibility.”Working with NIMC to ensure the rollout of the registration so that all 213/220 million Nigerians have a digital national ID, starting, of course, with all people of working age, and I think the target for that is at least 148 million people by the middle of next year,” stated Chaudhuri, “is one of the main partnerships we have.”Babalola went on to say, “On our part, we have done the necessary but we also have to wait for necessary permission,” during the interview on Sunday.

There will be three separate cards: one for social safety programs and the seamless administration of palliative care. People will have the option to select from another one that is bank-enabled, depending on what they require. People with disabilities as well as those without bank accounts will be able to use it.

“The National E-ID card uses biometric authentication, like fingerprint and picture, to help with identity verification. It can be used as a debit and prepaid card for both banked and unbanked individuals. Because of its offline capability, transactions can be completed in places with spotty network coverage.

The card’s back contains banking information that is enabled for both magnetic stripes and chip and pin.”While the National Safety Net Card will be utilized for all government interventions and services throughout numerous ministries, departments, and agencies, it will also be enabled for identity.

This card will be compatible with the current payment system and enabled for the eNaira, among other features and capabilities, in accordance with operational and security standards.”The card will be issued based on the government programs and current social register, and it will be used for all government social programs, such as cash transfers, agricultural loans, student loans, health insurance schemes, micro contributions, micro pensions, etc.

It will have a 10-year validity period. By using electronic money instead of cash, this will make real access possible and help 133 million people escape poverty.

Babalola told our correspondent that the three ID cards would be launched when we asked him to elaborate. Indeed, he declared, “three cards will be launched.”Additionally, attempts to contact NIMC’s Head of Corporate Communications, Kayode Adegoke, were unsuccessful because he did not answer calls to his phone number.

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