Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mr. Isah Pantami has declared that with the NIN, census is no longer needed as frequent as before.
Nigeria has not conducted a census since 2006. It was to be conducted back in 2016 but it was shifted.
Sheikh Pantami, as he is otherwise called, was reacting to the National Population Commission’s estimation, which puts Nigeria’s population at 210 million.
But the Minister feels linking the NIN with people’s SIM cards will give a more exact figure.
“How can you get your national budget right; how can we get our education, health, security and social intervention right without knowing the population of Nigerian residents,” Mr Pantami said.
“With biometrics, which are on record, the nation does not require frequent census if the database is updated. The same database can be with the National Population Commission because it is part and parcel of the National Identity Management Commission.”
Describing it an offence for any citizen or foreigner resident in Nigeria not to have a NIN, Mr Pantami justified the synchronising of SIM cards to the NIN by citing similar instances by foreign countries.
“It is the number that one is identified either as a citizen or as a legal resident. Any person resident in Nigeria is entitled to it by law. It is the foundational identity and no responsible country will exist without providing foundational ID to its citizens and legal residents
“It exists in the UK as National Insurance Number, in the U. S. as the National Insurance Security Number, even in India with a population of about 1.2 billion, it exists for all citizens.
“Every country has a type of identification but in Nigeria, the 7th most populous nation after China, India, U.S., Indonesia, Pakistan and Brazil, we are still struggling to know the total number of people living in Nigeria,” Mr Pantami said.