National Electronic ID Card Not Substitute For International Passport – NIMC

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has dismissed claims that the National e-Identity Card will soon be used as an alternative travelling document to the international passport.

“The Commission cannot be canvassing the use of the new national e-ID Card as an alternative to the international passport when that is the exclusive statutory responsibility of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS),” said Tunji Durodola, Head, Card Management Service, NIMC, while reacting to the reported claims.

Durodola noted that although one of the 13 applets found in the National e-ID Card has travel functionality for certain types of travels, NIS is solely responsible for the decision to adopt the e-ID Card and the operational modalities.

“If and when it decides on this, the process can then be defined and implemented by the NIS which has the sole responsibility for migration management in Nigeria as the issuing authority for passport and travel documents in line with ICAO regulations,” the NIMC official said.

He expressed NIMC’s embarrassment by the recent reports and therefore sought to clarify that although the applet on the Card issued to Nigerians is a bonafide Machine Readable Travel Document (MRTD), recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), it would still not be valid for travelling without the NIS approval.

“For any country to recognize the use of the National e-ID Card for cross-border travel, its usage must be the product of a bilateral agreement and NIS runs the show in that respect, we have only provided an early and appropriate means of achieving that so we do optimize the resources we have as is done in Europe. That’s all we did. For this to be possible, the Nigeria Immigration Service alone not even with NIMC, must approve the process,” Durodola said.

He therefore expressed regrets over the impression that has been created recently on the usage of the national e-ID card.

“NIMC has enough on its hands; managing the central depository of a single version of truth on individuals identities in the country, to want to canvass the takeover of the statutory responsibility of another agency.”

“We are mindful of the developments in the ECOWAS Region about national identity cards and just wanted to be ready ahead of time, but while informing and educating Nigerians on the use cases of the Card, we did not at any time say that the Card can be used as an alternative to the international passport; but it was necessary that Nigerians know it has an applet that can function as a travel document,” he said.

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