Nigerian Debit Cards Now Serve as National Identity Cards

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced that citizens can now request their commercial banks to issue them with a debit card that also functions as their national identity card. Prof Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, revealed this development in Abuja on Wednesday. He emphasized that this issuance comes at no cost to the individuals.

The approval for this initiative was obtained during a meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Pantami explained that the approval followed a memo from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), allowing banks to print multipurpose debit cards that can double as national identity cards.

Describing the new card, the Minister stated, “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.”

While the NIMC Act of 2007 mandates Nigerians to have a National Identity Number (NIN) and not necessarily a physical card, there has been a growing demand for the cards. Many citizens, particularly those in rural communities, have expressed the need for a physical card, despite it being optional.

To address this demand and make it more accessible, NIMC has partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria, allowing interested citizens to easily obtain the card from relevant banks. The bank is authorized to print the multipurpose card, along with either a Mastercard or Visa card, without any additional costs to the applicants.

See also  Renowned Media Mogul and PDP Chieftain, Raymond Dokpesi, Passes Away at 71

Pantami assured the public of the privacy and confidentiality of card applicants, emphasizing that NIMC and the Central Bank have signed a nondisclosure agreement to protect their information. When an individual requests the card, the bank will connect to the NIMC database to verify the person’s details. Upon successful verification, the card will be printed immediately for the user.

In addition, the Federal Executive Council has also approved the deployment of an automated system to integrate NINs with individual SIM cards. This system aims to streamline the implementation of the NIN-SIM linkage, consolidating previous efforts made since 2011. The automated system will enhance the database, simplify SIM replacement procedures, and bring numerous benefits to Nigerians and legal residents.

With these developments, Nigerians can look forward to a more convenient and secure means of identification and banking services, as their debit cards assume the role of their national identity cards at no extra cost.