The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has been relocated to the Ministry of Interior as part of a move by the Federal Government to streamline passport issuance and National Identity Number (NIN) processes for Nigerians.
Kayode Adegoke, NIMC’s Head of Corporate Communications, confirmed this development, stating, “Yes, we have been moved.” He also revealed that the commission would launch a mobile app to allow Nigerians to make online requests for changes to their personal information, such as dates of birth.
NIMC is responsible for issuing NINs, while the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), an agency under the Ministry of Interior, handles international passport issuance. Previously, NIMC was supervised by the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy.
The move comes as part of efforts to link NINs with Subscribers’ Identity Modules (SIMs) to enhance security and combat crimes like kidnapping, banditry, and terrorism. Over 100 million Nigerians have linked their NINs with their SIMs in the past three years.
The backlog of 200,000 passports with the NIS was primarily attributed to delays in linking NINs with passport applicants’ booklets. Additionally, NIMC’s servers have reportedly been down for about a month.
Interior Minister Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo directed the NIS to clear the passport backlog within 14 days, and as of Tuesday, 55,000 of the backlogged passports had been processed.
The transfer of NIMC to the Ministry of Interior aligns with President Bola Tinubu’s directive to remove obstacles to obtaining NINs and passports promptly. An NIMC source noted that the Interior Ministry has traditionally been the home of NIMC and that technology could have resolved NIN-related issues earlier if not for bureaucratic hurdles related to contract awards.
NIMC’s Acting Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, Abisoye Coker-Odusote, emphasized the commission’s commitment to maintaining the security and credibility of the NIN system. She urged the public to report any unethical practices during the NIN modification process and cautioned against engaging third-party agents or offering bribes to NIMC officials, as such actions compromise the process and are against the law.