The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is pushing for the use of the new National e-ID card as a valid travel document, as an alternative to the International passport for certain types of travel.
The new National eID card issued to Nigerians on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a bonafide Machine Readable Travel Document (MRTD), recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
One of the 13 applets imbedded in the JCOP chip on the card has similar content usually found in Nigeria’s e-passport and it is known as ICAO Applet, so it could easily be used as a travel document subject to approval of the international community.
The Head, Card Management Services at NIMC, Mr. Tunji Durodola, explained that the back of the NIMC e-ID card contains three lines called Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) lines just like the passport and the same as other national identity cards that have ICAO support. Its development was as a result of NIMC’s conformance to the ICAO document 9303 parts 1 and 2.
“Rigorous testing by International testing agencies ensured that the contents of the chip meet or exceed the standards set by the internationally recognised body.
“The first generation of cards have the SmartCard chip, but future generations will be dual-interface (chip and contactless) for a truly robust solution.
“But for other countries to recognise the use of the National e-ID card for cross-border travel, its usage must be included a bilateral agreement among countries that partner with Nigeria and this agreement must be recognised by the countries’ immigration and border control agencies, and such countries must have inspection devices that can read the cards, which most currently do.
“For this to work NIMC, the Federal Ministries of Aviation, Foreign Affairs and the Nigeria Immigration Service must have to sit down and agree on the process. Also, it is not certain if countries would be willing to work with Nigeria, which seems to be ahead of many other nations on the e-ID card programme.” He further said
According to him,NIMC is confident that with time, the International community will build confidence in the authenticity of the card and the robust security features built into it.
“The National Identity Card is also a travel document and conforms to the same standards (ICAO 9303 Rev 2) as International Passports and National Identity Cards of other nations which have TD1 functionality built in.
“It is hoped that the document will be used for ECOWAS travel (without the need for a Passport), as the data on the chip cannot be forged. NIMC has its own Document Signer (DS), a significant component of the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“So we are not sending document signing objects outside Nigeria to be digitally signed for this applet. It is done in a very secure environment in Nigeria and is most certainly not open to inspection or access by any authority, body or nation in the world.”