NIN verification by third party, subject to NIMC approval – Minister

The Federal Government of Nigeria has made the verification of individual National Identity Number (NIN) by any third party possible by subjecting it to the approval of the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC.

This has been achieved with introduced of a suite of digital Tokens to replace the National Identity Number (NIN), slip and polycarbonate card.

This was disclosed by Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami at a one day stakeholders workshop on the National Identification Number (NIN) Tokenization Solution organised by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in Abuja.

He noted that the exercise would improve security and that the government adopted the solution to ensure the privacy of personal identifiable information of individuals during verification transactions and to reduce incidences of illegal retrieval, usage, transfer, and storage of NIN.

Professor Pantami who was represented by the Director-General NIMC, Mr Aliyu Aziz disclosed that the full implementation would commence from January 1st, 2022.

He further explained that the tokenisation solution was customised to protect personally identifiable information and to protect the sanctity as well as the sensitivity of the NIN issued by NIMC to enrolled individuals.

“One of the benefits of the virtual NIN is to ensure no third party may carry out any verification, hiding behind a proxy (and without the knowledge of the NIMC, being the Custodian of Identity).

And also generated Token or Virtual NIN is unintelligent, completely random with no correlation to the NIN and cannot be reverse engineered, even by a Quantum Computer.

The NIN holder is the only exclusive issuer of NIN and cannot be delegated,“ Dr Pantami said.

According to the Minister, anonymization was also catered for with the attachment of the UserID of the verifier to every verification request, adding that no NIN, no verification.

Pantami said that NIN tokens are MDA or merchant-specific and expire after a set period of time, saying that a token generated for one company cannot be utilized by another company.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of NIMC, Aliyu Aziz maintained the agency’s aim of the sensitisation programme is to rub minds with stakeholders to ensure full understanding of the product and buy-in by all.

“We must continue to reinforce the need for every Nigerian to have a digital identity, irrespective of social class or economic status, improve access to all and ensure continuous protection of privacy and data of our citizens and other enrollees.

  We must sustain the momentum by creating continuous awareness programs and sensitizing the public,” Aziz stated.

The Technical Consultant of NIMC, Mr Tunji Durodola assured that the Digital Token was designed to replace the 11-digit NIN for everyday usage.

He affirmed that NIN had been shared and stored by various entities mostly without the knowledge or consent of the ID holder or the custodian of identity in Nigeria, NIMC.

Durodola stressed that the improved NIN slip had a smaller firm factor and is available to all who have been issued an active NIN, saying they may be purchased without having to visit the NIMC office.

“Some of the pre-requisite of tokenization, one needs a NIN issued by NIMC, mobile number registered in Nigeria and linked to your NIN,” he said.

The Director of Legal, Regulatory and Compliance Compliance Services, Hadiza Dagabana said that there was the need for more sensitisation on the public, adding that tokenization would be properly disseminated in various local languages for better understanding.

NIN verification by third party, subject to NIMC approval – Minister

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