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What would you say if you were asked how many Nigerians there are? 200 million? About 200 million? Over 170 million? That is probably because only estimates are available. The last time the National Population Commission took a nationwide count was in 2006 and even that exercise and its findings were subjects of controversy. Subsequent estimates, including World Bank’s, are based on the 2006 census.
Nigeria is making efforts to give every citizen and resident a digital identity. The country established the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in 2007 to, among other things, achieve this goal. Nigeria has taken stringent measures to scale-up enrolment. For this month’s Knowledge@Danne, we look at the progress made so far, the potential benefits to individuals, businesses and governance; and the potential dangers.

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Identification as a tool of Statecraft
India’s population is six times Nigeria’s. Ensuring that the citizens sustainably and effectively have access to government programmes and services is a big deal. In 2010, the country began Aadhaar, its national digital identity programme. By 2016, they had successfully registered 840 million Indians (67 per cent of their 1.25 billion population). They reduced their unbanked population by 125 million in just 12 months. The programme has also facilitated the efficiency of public and private service delivery.
Click: Identification as a tool of Statecraft
As improvements in software herald another technological revolution, what prospects do they hold for the perennial project of citizen identification? Singapore and India promise that the effects of the technological revolution can be benign, with increased convenience and access to State services for citizens. However, history holds out a warning as to the perils of unchecked power. Adversaries, both State and non-State, lurk in the background as potential threats. Yet, like all revolutions, the future depends. Read the full article here.

Click: Identification as a tool of Statecraft
National Digital Identity: Making Nigerians Legible
In December 2020, the Nigerian government announced that those who did not register for the NIMC-issued National Identity Number (NIN) and hadn’t linked it with their SIM cards would lose their phone numbers in two weeks. Many Nigerians heavily condemned the “harsh” pronouncement and feared that the scramble that ensued could cause a spike in Coronavirus cases in the country. The deadline has since been extended three times to May 6 2021.
Click: National Digital Identity: Making Nigerians Legible
Over 51 million people have so far registered for the National Identity Number (NIN) as at March 2021. 143 million out of the 207 million SIM cards have also been linked as at January 2021. The NIMC has said that they ultimately want to build a digital identity database of Nigerians by scaling up registration and harmonising the various databases run by at least 13 other government agencies. In this article, we look at the potential economic, social and security benefits of a central digital identity database to Nigeria as well as the potential dangers it portends. Read the full article here.
Click: National Digital Identity: Making Nigerians Legible
At Danne Institute for Research we are intentional about the transformational change we want to create. We conduct research (build research capabilities among African scholars in the process) and disseminate our research findings to bring about sustainable change in Africa.

Each issue of the newsletter will inform you about our research interests. For example, strengthening institutions, developing leaders and sustaining public sector change in Africa and, connectivity and productivity in Lagos.

Our plan is to keep you updated on our research and draw your attention to some of their highlights through articles which you can find on our website.
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DANNE INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH · Crescent Lekki · Adewale Kolawole Plot 17 · Lekki · Nigeria

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