Nigeria to Issue Unique Identity Numbers to Citizens for a Harmonized Database

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The Nigerian government has suddenly felt the need to issue its people with an identity number that should be part of a harmonized database.

The exercise is said to last up to five years, with an 50 million people in registrations.

According to Bloomberg, the Nigerian government has secured a $433 million loan to foot the bill. In the end, the state hopes to have 200 million unique numbers in its database, making it the largest of such a system in Africa.


The show will be run by National Identity Management Commission. However, Nigeria is seeking the input of private entities because there are way too many people in the West African state for the government to register in a timely manner.

At the moment, only 38 percent of Nigerians have some form of identity documentation. Also, only 37 million Nigerians have their details in centralized database. This, according to the state, should change.

Similar to what happened in Kenya a few months ago with Huduma Namba, the government of Nigeria says it’ll not offer some services to those who will not have a unique identifier. Services such as passport application, pension disbursement and voter registration, to mention a few, will not be performed if the applicant does not have the number.


The exercise will also be carried out abroad for nationals residing outside Nigeria. It will also capture personal details for non-citizens.

The new registration digital system will be up and running by October.


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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]