June 5, 2023

Isa Pantami, the minister of communications and digital economy, says 67 million Nigerians have enrolled for the national identification number (NIN).

Pantami said this at a sideline event of the Paris Peace Forum titled ‘Nigeria International Partnership Forum’.

He said the NIN database was planned in such a way that people who are between 15-60 years of age were captured first, adding that 92 percent in that category had been captured.

He said the focus was currently on the younger population who are between one-14 years of age.

The minister said the government placed premium on the NIN enrolment because it is the foundation for the growth of the economy, securing the country and protecting investors from fraudulent elements.

“With NIN enrolment, the identity of citizens and legal residents will be known and whosoever goes online, the identity will be known by the federal government and security institutions,” NAN quoted him as saying.

“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.”

Pantami said the enrolment had been made seamless with the increase of enrolment centres from 1600 to 6000 — with one or two enrolment centres in every country for Nigerians in the diaspora.

He said more than 10 enrolment centres were set up in the UK and USA to address the needs of many Nigerians in those countries.

To address cybersecurity, he said the government 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.

He said the country had also moved higher in the global index on the ease of doing business.

Pantami said the feat 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 economy.

“Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa with over $520 billion gross domestic product (GDP) followed by Egypt and South Africa and Nigeria has been consistent in dominating the first position,’’ he added.

On his part, Babagana Monguno, national security adviser (NSA), said Nigeria was winning the war against terror, adding that the overblown insecurity situation in the country should be jettisoned.

According to Monguno, no fewer than 15,000 insurgents and Boko Haram members had voluntarily surrendered in the North East in recent times.

“In the last five months, we have had a large wave of terrorists and their sympathisers surrendering in droves,” Monguno said.

“Right now it is becoming a humanitarian issue because we have to contain so many of them.

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