Two one hundred and forty one thousand, one hundred and ten Diaspora Nigerians obtained national identification numbers in 2022 according to industry statistics from the National Identity Management Commission.

This brought the total number of diaspora Nigerians with NIN to 319,260 by the end of 2022, a number that has since risen to 335,353 as of January 22, 2023.

The NIMC did not provide a breakdown of the countries in which registered Nigerians reside. In 2019, NIMC started a diaspora enrollment exercise to capture Nigerians living outside the country in the National Identity Database.

While NIN registration is free in Nigeria, it is paid off the country’s shores.

Meanwhile, 21.33 million registered for NIN in 2022. That is, as the total number of people with NIN increased from 72.7 million on January 1, 2022 to 94.03 million on December 31, 2022. In addition , as of January 22, 2023, the database had recorded 1.04 million new records to reach 95.07 million.

On the January 2023 numbers, NIMC stated: “NIMC enrollment numbers as of January 22, 2023 currently exceed 95.07 million unique registrations.

“The highest cumulative enrollment figure of over 10.51 million was recorded in Lagos State. Regional figures indicated an almost equal distribution in the north and south.

According to the data, 53.68 million men and 41.40 million women now have NIN. The top five states for NIN holders are Lagos (10.52 million), Kano (8.32 million), Kaduna (5.61 million), Ogun (3.97 million) and Oyo (3.75 million).

The lowest states for NIN holders are Bayelsa (602,705), Ebonyi (762,993), Ekiti (982,264), Cross-River (1.09 million) and Taraba (1.40 million).

According to NIMC, NIN would ultimately become the merging point of all records about an individual, demographics, fingerprints, head-to-shoulder facial image, other biometric data, and digital signature into the national identity database, to easily confirm and verify an individual’s identity when they want to travel and make transactions.

Every Nigerian is expected to obtain a NIN. In 2022, Nigerians without NINs were prohibited from making calls from telecommunication lines.

The Federal Government recently revealed a plan to enroll 100 million people in three years. In the National Development Plan 2021-2025, the government said: “Identity management has continued to be a matter of tasks for various administrations.

“There is a paucity of data despite the fact that various agencies collect identity data for their operations in Nigeria. The latest of these is the Nigerian Communications Commission linking SIM registration data to the national identity number database. NIMC plans to register an additional 100 million people in three years and has embarked on a massive registration drive. The plan is to enroll 2.5 million people monthly for the next three years.”

Nigeria and the World Bank have a partnership called the ‘Nigerian Development Digital ID Project’ to increase the number of people with a national ID number in the country.

Project Coordinator, Digital ID for Development Nigeria, Solomon Odole, stated that the project would address the inadequate infrastructure of the NIMC.

He said: “The project has made adequate provisions to finance institutional capacity building, with the aim of building trust and credibility within the country’s identification ecosystem.

“Since it came into effect in December 2021, Nigeria ID4D had sought to address the pervasive fragmentation of Nigeria’s ID ecosystem, with no less than 13 public institutions providing some form of ID services; Inadequate infrastructure of the National Identity Management Commission that jeopardizes the continued registration of people, particularly women, youth and people with disabilities.”

In 2022, the NIN registration process ran into many problems, including a long server shutdown that affected many Nigerians.

Furthermore, within the year, Director General, NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, revealed that the commission’s current infrastructure could only accommodate 100 million Nigerians during an interview on Frontiers Show on the Nigerian Television Authority.

In May 2022, when the number of people with NIN was around 80 million, he said: “We created it (the database) to serve 100 million. Right now, we are at 80 million. In addition, we have the approval of the government to update it. So before we got there, we must have upgraded to about 250 million.”

He added: “We are trying to update the system. We have government approval since July last year. We are following up to get the financing. Funding is a challenge, but I don’t want to call it a challenge because it’s a challenge for everyone.”