NIMC Wants National Electonic ID Card Used As International Passport

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Following the successful introduction of the electronic identity card, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is canvassing the use of the new National e-ID Card, as a valid travel document for certain types of travel.

The commission said the new ID card is a bonafide Machine Readable Travel Document (MRTD), which is recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and hence can serve as an alternative to the international passport.

“The National Identity Card is also a travel document and conforms to the same standards (ICAO 9303 Rev 2) as International Passports and National Identity Cards of other nations which have TD1 functionality built in. It is hoped that the document will be used for ECOWAS travel (without the need for a Passport), as the data on the chip cannot be forged. NIMC has its own Document Signer (DS), a significant component of the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria . So we are not sending document signing objects outside Nigeria to be digitally signed for this applet. It is done in a very secure environment in Nigeria and is most certainly not open to inspection or access by any authority, body or nation in the world,” said Tunji Durodola, Head, Card Management Services at NIMC.

“The National e-ID Card also has support for e-Visas whenever they become acceptable worldwide in the foreseeable future. Quite a bit of work needs to be done at diplomatic levels such as the United Nations, before any country will accept or start to issue electronic Visas on National Identity Cards. But whenever they are ready, so will the Nigerian National eID Card.” Durodola said.

The back of the NIMC e-ID Card contains three lines, called Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) lines, just like the passport and the same as other National identity cards that had ICAO support. Its development was as a result of NIMC’s conformity to the ICAO Document 9303 parts one and two.

One of the 13 applets imbedded on the card has similar content usually found in Nigeria’s e-passport and it is known as ICAO Applet, so, it could easily be used as a travel document subject to approval of the international community, the Commission said.

However, for other countries to recognise Nigeria’s e-ID card use for cross-border travel, countries need to partner with other countries, whose immigration and border control agencies must have inspection devices that can read the cards.

NIMC expressed confidence that with time, the international community will build confidence in the authenticity of the card and the robust security features built into it.

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