Friday, March 06, 2020 / 1:10 PM /
Bukola Akinyele for WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV
The Convention on Business Integrity, CBi, as part of its commitment to public policy engagement and driving the advocacy on Anti-Corruption in the business environment, hosted the 6th edition of its Regulatory Conversations.
It discussed "National Identity Number: Matters Arising & Implications To Nation Building" as an essential issue for Nigeria to give top priority on its pathway to socio-economic development.
Mr. Soji Apampa, the Chief Executive Officer of the CBi in his opening remarks, said regulation should maximize the wellbeing of society as a whole by limiting undesirable outcomes such as crime, insecurity, increasing corruption levels, drug abuse, and so on.
He said this also entailed ensuring the availability of sufficient social services and infrastructures like road, air, rail and sea transportation, education and healthcare.
Citing experts, Mr. Apampa noted that sound regulation entails at least three things; standard-setting, information-gathering, and behaviour-qualification.
Regulation, according to him, had a significant role to play in modern society, as it had the potency to protect public consumers and their interests.
In context, he outlined when regulation is not in the Public Interest?
Speaking further, he said the essence of the Regulatory Conversation 6.0 was to address the framework around the issuance of a national identity number to all Nigerians, which is perhaps one of the most essential and crucial initiatives managed by the federal government of Nigeria.
Mr. Apampa was of the view that a data-driven approach to the National Identity Number process was vital to ensuring the security and welfare of all Nigerians.
He decried the fact that in the last two (2) decades, over $300 million has been committed to the National Identity Number programme.
The CEO of CBi noted that only one-third of Nigerians have so far registered with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
He acknowledged the fact that it has now become legislation to provide a national identity number before one can access certain government services such as obtaining a passport, renewing the driver's licence, registering for the primary national examination, and so on.
The Regulatory conversation 6.0 he added provided the opportunity to consider the philosophy behind the implementation of the national identity number regulation, to ensure it does preserve the public interest not only as a laudable objective but also in the public policy choices implementing it.
In her remarks, the Country Director of Action Aid Nigeria Ms. Ene Obi gave her goodwill messages at the forum and spoke on the remarkable works the organization is doing.
She stressed that Action Aid supports women, young people and people living in disabilities. Ms. Obi also stated that the organization also supported rehabilitation and resettlement projects like the Borno state Internally Displaced Persons(IDP) Camp.
The Action Aid, according to her, empowers thousands of women in the area of agriculture to be economically active.
Mr. Tunji Rabiu, Group Chief Operating Officer, Integrity Organization/ CBi, said the desire was to create a society that prefers integrity over corruption.
According to him, Business Action Against Corruption (BAAC) was a collective step of organizations and individuals to improve the corporate governance environment in Nigeria.
He said the Integrity Organization also conducts programmes on the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), where there was a portal to benchmark their corporate governance standards against global best practices.
Also, Mr. Rabiu informed stakeholders that the CBi organizes training for MSMEs, designed to promote access to finance and reduce corruption, which is basically what Integrity Organization/CB represents.
The event featured a panel session that was moderated by Mr. Olufemi Awoyemi, the Founder and Chairman of Proshare.
Ms. Francesca Kanayo- Chiedu, Executive Director, Citizens ConnectNG called for an automated system that registers and gives Nigerians their unique National identity number from birth.
On his part, Mr. Idris Akinbajo, Managing Editor Premium Times, highlighted the current challenge students were facing in the Joint Admission Matriculations Board, JAMB exams, which now requires the National Identification Number, NIN.
He urged the government to put the necessary measures for seamless NIN registration to avoid a low JAMB registration rate, which could affect Nigeria's human capital development.
Dr. Ike Adinde, Deputy Director at the Nigerian Communication Commission, said the whole management data registration process would require review to drive efficiency. He agreed that Nigeria needs a centralized database tied to the NIN. The current silo arrangement of data management between agencies like the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS), National Population Commission (NPC), National Identity Management Commission(NIMC), Federal Road Safety Commission(FRSC), amongst others.
Mr. Hyginus U. Omeje Corps Sector Commander, FRSC, Lagos State, in his intervention, lauded the NIN initiative stating that it will be linked to driver's licence captured the Road Safety Commission. He attested to the integrity of the NIN data and called for private sector involvement in the process.
Also speaking Mr. Amos Okpu, Special Assistant to the Comptroller-General on Standards & Compliance, Nigeria Immigration Service made a strong case for the harmonization and securitization of data through the NIN.
Comrade Yusuf Nurudeen Omomewa, the Lagos State Coordinator Education Rights Campaign (ERC) on the issues around enlightenment, believed there was a need for proper orientation from NIMC. He stressed the need for adequate information dissemination to Nigerians on the process and timing for the NIN registration.
In an interview with WebTV, Mr. Soji Apampa tasked NIMC to broaden its engagement with the public, which will enable it to gain the feedback to redefine its strategies.
He urged the management of NIMC to entrench accountability and transparency in the management of funds and also provide clarity in terms of service delivery to citizens.