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How NIN registration will improve security – Buhari

By Idowu Abdullahi

President Muhammadu Buhari has advanced reasons why it was important for Nigeria to get ongoing linkage of SIMs to National Identification Numbers (NIN) right, saying the measures would determine the success of the ongoing war against insecurity.

He added that proper identification of all Nigerians and legal residents in the country and ability to conveniently access a database would provide impetus for more effective planning and security oversight that would bring to barest minimum the issues of insecurity.

Buhari called on all Nigerians to fully participate in the ongoing synchronization of the NIN with SIM cards across the country, saying it would provide a digital framework for improving security and strengthening the economy.

The President stated this on Thursday while speaking during the launch of National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in Nigerian Telecoms Sector and Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Cards registration at the State House in Abuja.

According to him, the NIN will cover one of the weaknesses in our security structure. We will be able to easily identify and know the personality of Nigerians. We will identify people easily, including the crooks.

The president said that the launch of the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration was quite timely and will support efforts to enhance security and develop the economy.

“The National Identification Number is the foundational digital ID for the country; both Nigerian citizens and legal residents are expected to obtain the NIN. It will provide access to government services and will give government useful insights that will enable us to utilize scarce resources in a more efficient way,’’ he added.

President Buhari noted that the first National SIM Policy was launched in February 202o, and the revised policies were in full alignment with the objectives of the administration in the areas of economic development, security and anti-corruption.

“The Digital Economy sector has made significant progress and recorded a number of unprecedented achievements since we expanded the mandate of the Ministry of Communications to include the digital economy mandate. The Information and Communications Technology sector was the fastest growing sector in both the fourth quarter of 2020 and the entire year 2020, based on the Report by the National Bureau of Statistics.

“The sector’s 14.70 per cent double digit growth rate played a principal role in supporting our country to exit the recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth rate of the sector exceeded four times the next fastest growing sector of Q4 2020, ICT Sector which had a growth rate of 3.42 per cent. This is truly commendable,’’ the president added.

Buhari assured that his administration was fully committed to the safety of Nigerians and linking the SIM to NIN would significantly enhance security, aid in national planning and budget preparations.

In his remarks, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, appreciated the president for the continuous support to the telecoms sector, including regulators and operators, thanking him for the keen interest in ensuring that the security sector gets a boost with more information on Nigerians and legal residents.

The minister noted that the NIN Registration had recorded a huge success with 54 million Nigerians already captured in the process, adding that “within six months over 12 million enrolled.’’

Pantami said that it was now possible to have virtual ID cards that can be used in various transactions, assuring that the NIN and Sim card registration for Nigerians and legal residents will cover 99.9 per cent.

He said that the buoyancy of the telecoms sector had given Nigeria many leadership roles in international organisations, listing the impact on education, training, health and welfare of many, including the establishment of 600 computer centres, and a world class sim card manufacturing company in the country.

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