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The new Nigerian national eID card

Broadest financial inclusion program in Africa

The new Nigerian national ID card​ was launched on 28 August 2014 by President Jonathan Goodluck. 

Nigeria is often referred to as the "Giant of Africa," owing to its population of over 210 million inhabitants at mid-2021, the largest in Africa.  

UNICEF predicts that births in the country will represent 10% of the world's total births by 2050.

With the new e​​ID program, the country is also signaling the broadest financial inclusion program on the continent. 

The new secure document is providing official proof of identity to Nigerians 16 years and older.

There's more.


Nigeria national ID card: 5 functions

​The Nigerian ID card acts as a:

  1. National identity card
  2. Travel document based on ICAO standards
  3. Electronic ID - offers strong authentication and digital signature. The micro-controller securely holds the National Identification Number (NIN), the holder's address, name, and other details. This is also a key tool for banks for customer on-boarding procedures known as KYC (Know Your Customer).
  4. ​Biometric eID - The card contains 10 fingerprints captured during the registration procedure. The card supports biometric identification​ through the use of fingerprinting. It uses the “match on card” method, making a fingerprint comparison on the card rather than on the reader. As the biometric data never leave the card, the interception of data during transfer to a reader is impossible.
  5. Payment card - The payment application turns the Nigerian national ID card into a tool for payments or can be used at ATMs or for transfers.  It will offer millions of Nigerians – most of whom have never had access to a banking service – the security, convenience, and reliability of electronic payments with 13 applications, including MasterCard's prepaid payment technology. 

​In the second phase, complementary applications such as a drivers' license or e-services, including eVoting, eHealth, or eTr​ansport​, will be implemented.​ 


Over 54m Nigerians registered as of May 2021.

According to the National press, 37m Nigerians were registered as of October 2019. Over 30m ID cards have been issued.

The enrollment accelerated in 2020.

54m Nigerians have been registered as of May 2021, according to the  National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) website. 

Managed by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the enrollment, issuance of the NIN (National Identification Number*), and ID card are free of charge.

*“From the 1st of July 2015 any government agency/institution, bank, insurance company and all other institutions offering services and or are involved in transactions requiring the identity of an individual as contained in section 27 of the Act, and who so transacts without demanding or using the NIN as contemplated hereunder, has committed an offense under the Act .”


Needless to say that the registration of an additional 100m Nigerians in the next three to five years is an incredible challenge.

That's why, in October 2020, the NIMC announced that it would scale up enrolment and issuance from 500,000 to 2.5m monthly.

In April 2021, the current number of monthly enrollments has reached 2.6 million registrations.



But the new funding from the World Bank will help accelerate those efforts. 


World Bank grant of $433 million for NIMC

According to the of 27 May 2020, the World Bank, Agence Francaise de Development (AFD), and the European Union (EU) will inject $433 million to boost Nigerians enrolment.

  • The World Bank validated the business model adopted by NIMC. It is supporting enrollment, NIN, and digital identity programs.
  • The Agence Française de Dévelopement and the European Union are also contributing to Nigeria’s Digital Identity Ecosystem.

The loan disbursement implies some conditions not present as of February 2021. In particular, Nigeria needs to put in place a data protection law to safeguard its citizens' fundamental rights.


NIN for SIM card registration 

Biometric SIM registration is a mandatory requirement for all mobile phone subscribers in Nigeria.

Each SIM registration is mapped to the subscriber's NIN, providing a new channel to identify citizens and facilitate credible transactions.

This move is one of the key policy objectives of the Nigerian Government to stimulate the implementation of a Digital Identity Program.

Nigeria stands beside Tanzania, Uganda,Zambia but also Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, the UAE with mandatory biometric SIM registration regulation.


Security expertise

Thales has been selected as a supplier for Nigeria's new multi-purpose eID card​. In this project, Thales is working in cooperation with its local partner Auspoint Limited.

The new electronic polycarbonate documents designed by Trüb in Switzerland meet the highest requirements for security and quality. The laser-engraved document also integrates built-in visible and invisible security elements. 

Nigeria's new national computerized card is equipped with a microprocessor to store personal and biometric data (fingerprints) of the cardholder and keys, certificates, and other data for the various eServices and applications. 


Digital dividends for a more inclusive society

This ambitious program aims to foster inclusive citizenship, more effective governance, and the creation of a cashless economy, all of which will stimulate economic growth, investment, and trade.​

To know more about the potential benefits of such a program, we published a dossier on the effects of ID technology on society.

Discover the 5 trends driving digital ID in 2021 and beyond.

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