The government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari has asked commercial banks to begin issuing Nigerians debit cards that double as their national identity card.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, who disclosed this on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, in Abuja, said the approval was obtained at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC.
The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He explained that the approval followed a memo from the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, allowing banks to print a multipurpose debit cards that double as National identity cards.
He said: ”It is going to be a form of multipurpose card where it will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other hand, either Mastercard, Visa or any other kind of card.”
“As in the NIMC Act 2007, section 27, what is mandatory for our citizens and legal residents is the acquiring of the National Identity Number, not the card. However, the card is optional.
“But many citizens, particularly those living in rural communities, always go to NIMC offices complaining that they need the card at hand, even though it’s optional.
“To make it easier, NIMC last year, we introduced a smart ID card you can download from NIMC app. It is just a smart card. You don’t need to have it physically, but that is becoming difficult for our people living in rural communities.”
To ease the difficulty, Pantami said NIMC had partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria ”so that citizens who are interested in having a card at hand can easily go to the relevant banks.”
According to him, the bank is permitted to print the card along with either a Mastercard or Visa card.
”It is going to be a form of multipurpose card that will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other. And based on the agreement, it is without any additional costs on our citizens.
“So when you apply for a card at your bank, you can indicate that ‘I want this card to be multiple purposes where it will serve as my bank card and also my national identity card’.
”Both of them are going to be printed on the same card and it is going to serve the same purposes without any additional costs.”
The Minister disclosed that NIMC and the CBN signed a nondisclosure agreement to protect the privacy and confidentiality of card applicants. He assured of the privacy and confidentiality of card users.
He said that afterwards, the bank verifies the person’s details which must be in tandem with the record in the NIMC database. Then, the card will be printed immediately for the user.