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  • Updated: March 02, 2023

2023 Elections: NINs Useless To Disenfranchised Nigerians In Diaspora

2023 Elections: NINs Useless To Disenfranchised Nigerians In

At times like this, one would have expected that the National Identification Numbers (NINs) would count toward empowering Nigerians in Diaspora to exercise their voting franchise and make their votes count.

Given the long journey so far into the digital economy, digital currency, digital identity, and, in fact, digital everything, it begs the question to think that Nigeria has not yet matured for electronic voting. 

The feelings of disappointment are made worse by the pomp and pageantry that attended the launch of the BVAS tech device that still depends on paper voting.

Sadly, billions of Naira have been sunk into the projects of NIN, BVN, PVC, and BVAS (to mention but a few), and yet all these have failed to graduate Nigeria with electronic voting. 

The beauty of electronic voting is such that both home-based Nigerians and those in Diaspora can cast their votes with minimal threats of election malpractices such as marred the recent Presidential and National Assembly elections. 

As a matter of fact, the number of Nigerians in the Diaspora with National Identification Numbers has risen by 563.57 per cent from 55,181 as of February 2022 to 366,164 as of February 2023, according to the National Identity Management Commission.

This is as the total number of individuals with NIN rose by 28.05 per cent from 75.36 million as of February 2022 to 96.5 million as of February 2023. 

According to NIMC, the total number of persons with NIN hit 96.5 million as of February 22, 2023, a 28.05 per cent increase from the 75.36 million that was recorded as of February 21, 2022.

Unlike how NIN registrations in Nigeria are broken down into states, NIMC did not give a breakdown of the countries in the Diaspora Nigerians are registered. 

However, in 2020, a year after launching the diaspora enrollment exercise, the Director-General of NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, disclosed that enrolment was available for Nigerians in 15 countries.

Commenting on the growth of diaspora registration at the time, Aziz said, “Diaspora enrolment was greatly received by the Nigerians in other countries, and it has been going well since the launch. 

“Enrolment is happening in over 15 countries across the world, with more countries to come on board in the near future.”

In Nigeria, Lagos (10.64 million) has the highest number of individuals with NINs.

This is followed by Kano (8.42 million), Kaduna (5.78 million), Ogun (4.05 million), and Oyo (3.79 million). Bayelsa (611,229) has the least number of individuals with NIN.

Ebonyi comes next with 774,263, Ekiti (990,463), Cross River (1.11 million), and Taraba (1.42 million).

Through NIN, the government hopes to link an individual’s records — demographic data, fingerprints, head-to-shoulder facial picture, other biometric data, and digital signature — in a national identity database to enable easy confirmation and verification of identity.

In 2022, telecommunication consumers without NINs linked to their SIMs were barred from making calls on their lines.

NIN is a requirement for many registrations in the country. 

According to the Federal Government, every Nigerian is expected to get a NIN.

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