Pantami urges Nigerians to embrace digital identity


By Ibiyemi Mathew

As the International Identity Day kicks off, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has urged Nigerians to recognize the importance of Digital Identity embrace it in other to propel the realization of a digital economy.

In a press statement issued by the Spokesperson to the Honourable Minister, Uwa Suleiman (Mrs), the honourable minister assured Nigerians that the Ministry is developing the right policy environment to support enrolments for Digital IDs across the country.

According to Pantami, “One of the key objectives of Pillar #6 (Soft Infrastructure) of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) is support 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 disclosed further that the ministry 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 the process of obtaining Digital ID is swift and secure.

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.”

The 16th of September has been declared as the International Identity Day.  Following the approval of the Federal Government under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, Nigeria  also formally adopted 16.9 as the National Identity Day. 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 further reitrated the commitment of his ministry to ensuring that Nigeria derives the benefits of a functional digital ID system and called on all stakeholders to support this process.