By Yinka Okeowo
The 16th of September (16.9) has been declared as the International Identity Day. Following the approval of the Federal Government under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria also formally adopted 16.9 as the National Identity Day.
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This year’s edition of the National Identity Day will take place virtually on the same date and will have the theme: Identity for Health, Sustainable Development and Growth.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), is using the occasion to remind Nigerians of the importance of Digital Identity.
He also assures Nigerians that the Ministry is developing the right policy environment to support enrolments for Digital IDs across the country.
“We will start by capturing Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria and will also support the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and other stakeholders to ensure that we make the process of obtaining Digital IDs swift and secure”, Dr Pantami said in a statement signed his Spokesperson, Uwa Suleiman (Mrs).
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One of the key objectives of Pillar #6 (Soft Infrastructure) of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS)issupport for the accelerated implementation of a Digital Identity Programme.
“The importance of a digital identity programme to the successful development of a digital economy cannot be overstated. Digital Identity plays a critical part in the development of a digital economy is also called the fabric of the digital economy”, the Minister said.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa rightly noted that “Digital Identity and the digital economy are not only linked, but are also, reinforcing, as digital ID is the basis for digital economy platforms…Digital identification can be an important catalyst for various development initiatives in the continent, impacting on trade, governance, social protection, financial inclusion, domestic resource mobilization, as well as security and human rights.”
As the world and Nigeria mark the International Identity Day and National Identity Day, Dr Pantami urges Nigerians to support the development of the digital economy by embracing the use of digital identity.
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“The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is committed to ensuring that Nigeria derives the benefits of a functional digital ID system and calls on all stakeholders to support this process. Nigerians are encouraged to visit NIMC accredited centres soon for their Digital IDs”, he added.