Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan today received his National eID card, heralding the official launch of the eID pilot program. In the pilot phase, the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) will issue MasterCard-branded identity cards with electronic payments functionality to 13 million Nigerians. This initiative is the largest rollout of a biometric-based verification card with an electronic payment solution in the country and the broadest financial inclusion program in Africa.
The eID card forms a key component of the Nigerian Identity Management System, deployed by NIMC as part of its mandate to create, maintain and operate the country’s first central National Identity Database and provide proof of identity to Nigerians 16 years and older.
With 13 applications, including MasterCard’s prepaid payment technology and Cryptovision’s biometric identification technology, the eID card will provide millions of Nigerians – the majority of whom have never had access to a banking product - with the security, convenience and reliability of electronic payments.
At a celebratory event held in Abuja, His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan said: “I am happy that this important milestone of the rollout of the National Identity Management System has been realized today. I am impressed with the quality of the eID card and the work of the corporate partners that made it possible. I commend especially MasterCard, and Access Bank Plc, as well as the Commission [NIMC] for achieving a world-class product.”He said the card builds a window to a social security benefit system and therefore, it is a card every Nigerian should get. NIMC is working with several government agencies to integrate and harmonize all identity databases including the Driver’s License, Voter Registration, Health Insurance, Tax, SIM and the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) into a single, shared services platform. “The National eID program enables us to create an optimized common platform for Nigerian citizens to easily interact with the various government agencies and to transact electronically,” says Barr. Chris ‘E Onyemenam, Director General and CEO of NIMC. “There are many use cases for the card, including the potential to use it as an international travel document, which will have significant implications for border control in Nigeria and West Africa.” “In close collaboration with both the public and private sectors to achieve the full potential of this program, NIMC is focused on inclusive citizenship, more effective governance, and the creation of a cashless economy, all of which will stimulate economic growth, investment and trade,” he adds.