President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged Nigerians to participate in the ongoing synchronization of National Identification Number, NIN, with SIM cards across the country, saying it would help cover the nation’s security structure and identify criminals terrorising Nigeria.
The President spoke at a time the National Space Research and Development Agency, NASRDA, lamented that inadequate satellite and other facilities are affecting monitoring of bandits and other criminal elements operating in the country.
Buhari, who also noted that the synchronisation between NIN and SIM cards will determine the success of the ongoing war against insecurity in the country, spoke at the launch of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in Nigerian Telecoms Sector and Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Cards registration in Abuja.
NIN linkage’ll help track crooks — Buhari
He said: “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,”
President Buhari said proper identification of all Nigerians and legal residents in the country and the ability to conveniently access a database will provide an impetus for more effective planning and security oversight.
“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 give government useful insights that will enable us utilize scarce resources in a more efficient way,” he said.
According to him, the first National SIM Policy was launched in February 2020, while the revised policies are in full alignment with the objectives of the administration in the areas of economic development, security, and anti-corruption.
He said: “The digital economy sector has made significant progress and recorded a number of unprecedented achieve-ments 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, the ICT sector which had a growth rate of 3.42 per cent. This is truly commendable.”=
‘Digital economy provided online options for physical events’
The President said the digital economy sector provided online options for activities hitherto restricted to offline channels while minimizing the disruption to activities of both public and private sectors and reducing the cost of meetings.
He added that the National Policy for Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector was in line with the administration’s commitment towards ensuring that Nigerians become active participants in the different sectors of the economy, including the telecommunications sector.
“The Federal Government embraced institutionalizing online meetings through the approval of the National Policy on Virtual Engagements in Federal Public Institutions.
“As a result of this, we now have virtual Federal Executive Council, virtual Council of State and virtual National Economic Council meetings, among others, even though this development was triggered by COVID-19.
“As a country, our desire to produce what we eat, and consume what we produce is not limited to the literal meaning; rather we want to work towards being self-sufficient in every sector of the economy.
“For the telecoms sector, we want Nigerians to play a major role in the design and manufacture of devices, in meeting the manpower requirements and in becoming an active part of the telecommunications ecosystem of the country.
“The policy aims to achieve this and I have earlier directed the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, to develop the structure for its implementation and forward this to the Nigerian Communica-tions Commission to implement.
“We are confident that the execution of the policy will further enhance our economy and lead to the creation of jobs,” the President noted.
He said there had been many futile attempts to promote the use of digital identity in the past, noting that “previous attempts have been unsuccessful due to a number of reasons, including sabotage.
“Our focused approach shows that this administration is dedicated to ensuring that we derive the benefits of a secure and robust digital identity system.”