The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has revealed that the Federal Government is planning to replace Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) with the National Identity Numbers (NIN).
Pantami disclosed this in Abuja after a facility tour and inspection of the ongoing NIN enrolment exercise at NIMC and other designated centres in Abuja.
He said he drew the attention of the CBN Governor to the need to replace BVN with NIN during his presentation to the National Economic Sustainability Committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
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“BVN is our secondary database, while NIN and the database is the primary one in the country that each and every institution should make reference to NIMC,” Pantami said.
According to him, the BVN is a regulator’s policy applicable to those who have bank accounts, while NIN is a law for every citizen and legal resident in the country.
“The strength of the law wherever you go is not the same with a policy of one institution’’, he said.
On the issue of the NIN data base being secure, Pantami NIMC database has 99.9% level of security.
“That is why we came up with the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation that we always enforce and this is applicable to the database at our disposal, he said.
“We take care of it and make sure that security is excellent and we don’t allow anybody to compromise the content because it is a trust from our citizens given to us.’’
Giving reasons the government engaged private agents for the NIN enrolment, the minister said the move was in line with the global standard.
Recall that the Federal Government had on 15 December 2020 declared that all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked after 30 December 2020. The mandate faced criticism and backlash from Nigerians and organizations considering the short period time given.
The FG later gave six weeks’ extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020, to February 9, 2021.
Earlier in February, the Federal Government of Nigeria further extended the deadline by 8 weeks.
The FG has set a new deadline of April 6, 2021, for the integration exercise.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.