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Stakeholders meet on developing digital identity ecosystem

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By Wale Oguntokun

 

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on ICT, Mr. Lanre Osibona, has debunked online news reports that the Nigerian government will be spending additional $3.1bn on Digital National Identity. He stated this at the stakeholder’s meeting on the adoption of the ‘Strategic Roadmap Document for Developing Digital Identity Ecosystem’ in Nigeria.

According to him, the said report was not only inaccurate, but entirely misleading, adding that the issues and challenges around the successful implementation of the National Identity are many, and they must be addressed collectively.

Relying on World Bank’s research in 2015, the SSA pointed out that the Country has spent $1.2 billion since the late 1970’s; however, much work remains undone.

“We are projected to spend an additional $3.1 billion if we are to follow the existing approach of developing identification in Nigeria. In other words, with the present administration’s prudent management of funds and applying cost-effective approaches across the ID ecosystem, the country could spend less on the project.

Acknowledging that, funding had not been a key issue, he added that “one of the biggest challenges in achieving a holistic and robust national identity has been the lack of a workable ecosystem and practical approaches.”

He pointed out some of the changes that have been made and are ongoing.

Some of those immediate changes include, but not limited to, employing a smart approach, such as “reducing the number of identity attributes we will be collecting from, what I believe, was 75 attributes, to just ONLY 10 for the NIMC Foundational System. The idea is that, we have a baseline of basic data of all Nigerians which can be built on by Functional ID stakeholders.”

“We have also analyzed cost-effective methods to transit from the issuance of physical cards as ID into a digital National Identity Number (NIN) if we are to truly register all our citizens”.

“On planning and implementation. The implementation of the National Identity will be undertaken as a project-based deliverable. Starting with the development of the Harmonized Digital National Identity Strategic Roadmap, for which we are undergoing a final review with all of you stakeholders. In addition, we have clearly defined key milestone deliverables, done our forecasted expenditures (OPEX & CAPEX) and the associated funding, and mapped out a timeframe to ensure there are measurable successes.”

“However, these changes are only as good as our collective efforts. Everyone has a part to play in developing a robust and innovative identity ecosystem.”

“The benefits of a single National Identity System with biometrics, offering a unique digital identity number to every person – are numerous. Enabling innovation, fostering social inclusion and a socially responsible society, enhance the development of a more efficient national planning, robust and effective security management”.

However, it is important to point out that SSA, Mr Lanre Osibona (who was at the meeting, in his capacity as the VP’s representative) was suggestive in his remarks and made no affirmations during the stakeholder meeting.

“Each stakeholder (for both Foundational and Functional uses) stands to gain tremendously from this system” e stated.

He further pointed out that the FRSC can leverage on the harmonized digital identity ecosystem to enforce traffic offences and telephone operators will have a robust database to verify existing and new customers and can focus their attention on innovative offerings.

Also, bank operators can accelerate the KYC process and extend innovative financial solutions to a wider segment of society and overall security benefits of curbing fraudulent activities in a current environment of anonymity.

The Senior Aide from the Office of the Vice President called for a spirit of collaboration, saying that no man is sole repository of knowledge; “while there must be single-mindedness in our drive to strive forward, contributions are necessary if we are to successfully implement this program”.

 

 

 


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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MTN Launches ‘Visitor SIM’, Designed for Guests Coming into the Country

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MTN Nigeria has announced the introduction of its new Visitor SIM specially designed for guests travelling into the country.

The Visitor SIM comes pre-loaded with an appealing package that includes local and international call and data bundles.

This package will enable people visiting from other countries to stay connected with their friends, family and business associates on MTN’s super-fast network.

MTN VisitorSIMs are easy for inbound international visitors to acquire, activate and use, in addition to which they offer far better value than any roaming tariff.

Not available from any other operator, the service is poised to deliver convenience and the best-in-class customer experience in line with MTN’s brand promise.

According to Adekunle Adebiyi, chief sales and distribution Officer, MTN Nigeria, “The new Visitor SIMs will ensure that before setting foot outside the airport, people visiting Nigeria can plug in, reconnect – to loved ones, associates, tools and information, and begin sharing their remarkable experiences, with no concern about roaming charges.”

 

MTN Visitor SIMs are available in the arrival halls of international airports and other ports of entry.

They are valid for 14 days, which can be extended up to 30 days via MTN’s self-service menus or USSD.


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Nigeria COVID-19 Response: UNICEF, IHS Nigeria Collaborate to Contribute Medical Supplies

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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) received the delivery of 115,800 COVID-19 test kits to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. These supplies were funded by IHS Nigeria, the Nigerian subsidiary of IHS Towers.

Testing remains the mainstay of the response led by the Presidential Task Force and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the first step towards diagnosing the infection. Tests enable health officials to understand the COVID-19 status of an individual and link that person to care, support and treatment while contributing to the protection of families and communities.

“Testing remains a core strategy of Nigeria’s response to COVID-19. This is critical for understanding the burden of the disease on our population and targeting our response activities accordingly. The primary goal of the Nigerian Government is to control the spread of this disease.

“This donation from IHS Nigeria through UNICEF will contribute to the national stockpile of test kits managed by NCDC, and support efforts of the growing network of accredited laboratories across the country for the testing of COVID-19. We are grateful for the continued support from UNICEF, IHS Towers and other partners.” said Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, NCDC.

IHS Towers has been a strong and continuing partner of UNICEF. At the onset of the coronavirus in Nigeria in late February, IHS Nigeria provided funding to UNICEF to urgently procure essential supplies and equipment with which UNICEF supported the Government of Nigeria in its COVID-19 response.

“UNICEF is deeply appreciative of IHS Towers’ commitment to being a partner in UNICEF’s work in Nigeria. Once more, IHS has shown great generosity in supporting UNICEF’s ongoing efforts to work closely with the Government of Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19.

“I am very delighted to receive this huge contribution from IHS Towers, the benefit of which will reach many more children and their families“, said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Country Representative.

“We are proud to have played an important role in supporting the Government and our communities where we operate to provide crucial tools needed to fight this pandemic. We understand this virus is here to stay for the foreseeable future, but are confident that with our support, and that of our other private sector colleagues, we are helping to manage and mitigate the impact of the virus in our country” said Mohamad Darwish, Chief Executive Officer of IHS Nigeria.

This recent support of essential tests makes IHS Towers the biggest private sector donor for UNICEF Nigeria’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Coca-Cola, Red Cross Society Expand Fight Against COVID-19 In Nigeria

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In a bid to support the fight against the Coronavirus disease, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) along with its national society Nigerian Red Cross (NRC) has started the distribution of PPEs and risk communications efforts to the tune of N228 Million to support its COVID-19 interventions in Nigeria.

 

This is part of The Coca-Cola Foundation’s $2.5million grant to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the COVID-19 pandemic within the West and Central Africa sub-regions.

The grant, which leverages the long-standing partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), seeks to support national efforts in the fight against the Coronavirus disease through the provision of essential medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and risk communications to impacted communities, healthcare personnel on the frontlines and treatment centres across the country.

 

Speaking on the donation, Yebeltal Getachew, managing director, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, explained, “The Coca-Cola System (Coca-Cola Nigeria, Nigeria Bottling Company and Chi Limited) remains committed to providing support to the communities we serve during these challenging times.

 

“By providing healthcare workers with much-needed PPEs, we are confident that this will go a long way in ensuring their safety as they remain on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

 

“Coca-Cola is proud to support the Red Cross as we deliver on our purpose of making a difference across the world”. 

 

Medical supplies being donated comprise N95 respirators, surgical masks, examination gloves, face shields, medical gowns, no-touch thermometers, disposable aprons, heavy-duty rubber gloves, rubber boots, basic masks, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizers.

 

Expressing his gratitude for the donation, Abubakar Kende, secretary-general for the Nigerian Red Cross Society explained, “We have identified the facilities in urgent need of these PPEs in consultation with NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health and will subsequently be distributed to these centres.

 

“This will ensure that treatment centres across the country are properly equipped with necessary PPEs as we continue to fight the disease”. 

IFRC seeks to directly impact the lives of over 1.4 million people in Nigeria and across other countries in West and Central Africa under this partnership. For over a century, The Coca-Cola Company and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have sustained a rewarding partnership that has seen the rehabilitation and preservation of human lives across the world through the delivery of humanitarian aid and emergency response to communities affected by disasters.

 

 

 


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