The Nigerian Immigration Service has announced on Tuesday that starting from January 2018 any citizen who does not have a National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) number will not be able to obtain or renew international passport.
NIS Comptroller General Mohammed Babandede after a meeting said that the nation had been confronted with the challenge of data harmonization hence the need to take this action.
“The bulk lies on all our table. It is the harmonisation of data and requires all of us to act but the biggest problem we are facing is that everybody is deploying his own technology. There is a practical commitment to this. We have agreed that from 2018 1st January, anybody who is going to apply for Nigerian Passport, whether renewal or fresh must first have an NIMC number, national identity number.”
General Babandede said that once a citizen is registered with NIMC there will be no need to go through the process of also registering with NIS. He also explained that same principle applies to non-citizens of the country as the overall objective is to achieve e-government in Nigeria.
“Why we are doing this is we want to ease business for Nigerians. There is no need for you to go and have your bio-metric captured by NIMC and then you come and capture again with the Nigeria Immigrations.
“Once you give us your NIMC number, we will collect the bio-metric from NIMC and produce your passport. That is the intention to do in all other agencies. I have also given a directive that any foreigner, non-Nigerian resident in Nigeria will not get his permit renewed. He or she will not get his passport renewed until he has an NIMC number. To achieve this, NIMC and passport numbers will be harmonised and we are committed to allowing NIMC in Immigration.
“All NIMC staff can work in our passport office so when you come to get the passport, you can also get the national identity card. The NIMC has also allowed immigration staff to work in their offices so that anybody who is coming to claim Nigerian citizenship, they will help to identify that citizen. That is the cooperation that we have had so far,” Babandede said.
“We are not talking about tax, we are talking of e- government. We want to have one e-government. What government is saying is that when you want to collect any facility from any government agency, you don’t need to look for the document from any other government agency.
He also said the system would make it easier to identify any citizen who is a regular taxpayer or defaulter.
“We should be able to access it. We should be able to know whether you have paid your tax or not. If you are coming through the airport and you want to leave Nigeria, we should be able to know that this guy has not paid his tax and you should be able to pay your tax before you depart. We are looking at one e-government and it is possible,” he added.