Nigerians, according to the Federal Government, can now ask their commercial banks to issue them with a debit card that also serves as their country’s identity card.
On Wednesday in Abuja, the Minister of Communications and the Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, made this announcement. This issuance, according to him, is free.
According to Pantami, the Federal Executive Council approved it at a meeting that was held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja under the chairmanship of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that the clearance came as a result of a memo from the National Identity Management Commission authorizing banks to produce dual-purpose debit cards.
The Minister explained that” It is going to be a form of multipurpose card where it will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other hand, either Mastercard, Visa or any other kind of card.”
According to Pantami, although the NIMC Act 2007 only mandates Nigerians to have a National Identity Number and not necessarily a printout card, demands for cards have swelled nonetheless.
“As in the NIMC Act 2007, section 27, what is mandatory for our citizens and legal residents is the acquiring of the National Identity Number, not the card. However, the card is 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.