By law, use of NIN is mandatory from Jan 2019 – Nigerian government

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Beginning from January 1, 2019, the Nigerian government will begin enforcing the mandatory use of the National Identification Number (NIN).

The NIN is a set of unique numbers issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to citizens who have registered with it. The NIMC captures the digital identity of all citizens and issued them the NIN as their unique digital identity.

The NIN is designed for citizens’ registration as part of government’s national strategy to build database on all citizens for enhanced economic planning. It consists of 11 non- intelligible numbers randomly chosen and assigned to an individual at the completion of enrolment into the National Identity Database (NIDB).

According to the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Aliyu Abubakar Aziz, in an interaction with newsmen in Abuja this week, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) last week gave approval for immediate commencement of the implementation of a strategic roadmap for a new Digital Identity Ecosystem involving the enrolment of Nigerians and legal residents into the National Identity Database (NIDB).

The FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari put effect into five regulations, already gazetted and published by the federal government following an approval from the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Minister of Justice in November, 2017.

“The gazetted regulations are: ‘Mandatory Use of the National Identification Number (NIN) Regulations, 2017’; ‘Nigeria Biometrics Standard Regulations, 2017’; ‘Registration of Persons and Contents of the National Identity Database Regulations, 2017’. “Access to Register Information in the National Identity Database Regulations, 2017 and Licensing of the Frontend Services of the National Identity Management Commission Regulations, 2017,” said Aziz.

With the approval, the digital identity agency will begin the full implementation of the provisions of the NIMC Act 23, 2007, which include the enforcement of the mandatory use of the NIN and the application of appropriate sanctions and penalties on defaulters as provided under Section 28 of the NIMC Act’’, said Aziz adding:

“The Commission shall from 1st January 2019 commence full enforcement of the mandatory use of the NIN and apply all applicable sanctions and penalties as provided under Section 28 of the NIMC Act against defaulters.”

Data harmonization

Also 1st of December 2018 is the cut-off date for data harmonisation with the NIDB meaning that “only data captured as at 30th November 2018 will be subjected to harmonisation as is currently on-going,” said Aziz.

As part of making the NIDB effective, government had commenced a data harmonization initiative across all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to end data duplication processes.

From 1st of December 2018, the NIMC’s boss said:

“Fresh data capture of persons shall be in compliance with the Provisions set out in the Nigeria Biometric Standards; Mandatory use of the NIN Regulations 2017 and guidelines issued by the Commission.

“That is to say the capturing agency must request and verify the NIN before taking secondary demographic data of the person and where the person does not have a NIN, register such person (where it is licensed to do so) or refer such person to a NIN registration centre.

“Only licensed public or private agencies shall capture and transmit biometric to the NIDB.

“Only the NIMC, Nigeria Police Force and other related security agencies shall store biometric data’’.


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