The Federal Government has announced that Nigerians are now able to request from their commercial banks a debit card that also serves as their national identity card.
On Wednesday in Abuja, Prof Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, announced that the issuance would come at no cost.
He mentioned that the approval was obtained during the meeting of the Federal Executive Council, which was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. He stated that the authorization came after the National Identity Management Commission issued a memo that permits banks to produce versatile debit cards that function as National identity cards.
The Minister clarified that the card would have multiple purposes, serving as both a national identity card and a bank card, such as Mastercard, Visa, or other types.
Pantami states that even though the NIMC Act 2007 requires only a National Identity Number for Nigerians and not a physical card, there has still been a significant increase in requests for the cards.
According to section 27 of the NIMC Act 2007, it is mandatory for citizens and legal residents to obtain a National Identity Number (NIN), but not the accompanying card. The card is only optional.
“But many citizens, particularly those living in rural communities, always go to NIMC offices complaining that they need the card at hand, even though it’s optional.
“To make it easier, NIMC last year, we introduced a smart ID card you can download from NIMC app. It is just a smart card. You don’t need to have it physically, but that is becoming difficult for our people living in rural communities.”
To ease the difficulty, Pantami said NIMC had partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria ”so that citizens who are interested in having a card at hand can easily go to the relevant banks.”
According to him, the bank is permitted to print the card along with either a Mastercard or Visa card.
”It is going to be a form of multipurpose card that will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other. And based on the agreement, it is without any additional costs on our citizens.