Consumer rights advocate seeks unified identity management system in Nigeria

Mr. Moses Igbrude

Mr. Moses Igbrude

To guarantee proper identification of Nigerians and facilitate efficient exchange of goods and services, the chairman of Consumer Rights Awareness Advancement and Advocacy Initiatives (CRAAAI), Mr. Moses Igbrude has called for a unified identity management system in Nigeria.

Igbrude, who spoke to The Guardian in Lagos, shorty after a stakeholders forum on “Identity Management in Nigeria Economy: The Bedrock of a Cashless Society”, said the present approach to identity management in the country is not only time consuming but wasteful and costly.

According to him, Nigeria’s failure to establish a functional identity management system over the years has contributed immensely to the economic and financial quagmire it finds itself today.

He said: “it is scandalous that a country with over 174.5 million people, an immense resources like Nigeria does not yet have a sound, secure and sustainable identity system. “Millions of adults, do not have valid identification mean and are therefore denied access to financial services.

“Before the October 2012 directive of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) to banks to accept voters card in lieu of identity cards for basic banking transactions across the country, life was horrible”.

He noted. Buttressing the importance of identity management, Igbrude said the emphasis is not just about the Bank Verification Number (BVN), it is about a single managed identity data base for Nigerians, so that they can be identified any where and anytime.

“ It is costing the nation huge sum of money and government should do everything in its power to ensure that the identity issue materialize so that we can have a single managed identity data base for Nigerians.

“The national identity card are not being managed well that is why the Bankers Committee, who were trying before to work with government decided to come up with the BVN because government were becoming so slow as government and they cannot wait for them”.

He said. On the September deadline by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for Nigerians to register for their identity cards, the consumer rights advocate urged NIMC as the regulatory body empowered by law to synchronize all information gathered by banks, Road Safety Commissions, telecommunication companies and other agencies of government so that information in possession of NIMC could be accessed anytime.

“We are appealing to NIMC and government to ensure that the centralization is done in time because Nigerians are wasting money in renewal of drivers licence and other identity platforms, it is not supposed to be so”.

He added. He stressed that the meeting was organized to bring all stakeholders to know the importance of identity management in terms of its impact in helping government to know the demographic nature of her population, in merchandising for good sales and in access to loans.

He said: “ Right now, it is very difficult to secure loans in Nigeria, where as in abroad, you don’t need to have a lot of money to buy whatever you want if you are working.

“ All they just need to do is to type your number and get your data and all the information about you, where you are born and working will be in the data base.

“The moment they establish that you are working, you can apply for anything and you could get credit. “That is to say, anywhere you are, even, if you are entering Immigration office, going to school or hospital, all they need to do is to key in your number in the computer, all information about you will be assessed. “So it is modern marketing as it should and that is why we are promoting it.

“It will make Nigerians to get credit easily to buy whatever they want without cash, we are gradually moving up to the cashless society. “We want the educate Nigerians on this process and it is a gradual process” he added.

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