After my biometric registration with my bank for the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) exercise, it dawned on me that Nigeria’s banking sector was on the verge of having a unified database for commercial banks’ customers.
With the BVN, I have a unique identity to which every other bank accounts I operate are tied to. This means I don’t have to register with every bank I operate an account with; what the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) might never achieve with the SIM Card registration process.
If you reside in Nigeria, you probably must have participated in not less than four data capturing processes in recent years, what with government agencies collecting the same set of data every time, including your biometrics.
Few years ago, The NCC mandated every GSM user to have their data and biometric captured for every lines they use – I registered five mobile lines, and each time I was asked the same set of questions. You can read my case study for the regulatory body of the telecom sector here.
Another stop is the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) which has one of its mandate to be ‘Establishment, operation and management of the National Identity Management System (NIMS).’
Since NIMC is saddled with the responsibility of establishing and maintaining a national identity database, we might want to ask why every other government agency or departments needs to collect my data directly from me, rather than just plugging into NIMC database.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) collected my data in 2011 yet, everyone on my street still had to register again in December 2014.
Finally, the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRA) is presently capturing data of every Lagosian. Not forgetting the new National Driver’s License which also requires biometrics.
With the numerous databases being maintained by various government agencies in the country, it appears all these agencies don’t trust each other. Or could it just be to add figures to their yearly annual budget? As I often joke, can Jack Bauer make anything of any of the various databases?
And there doesn’t appear to be any verification exercise in place for any of the databases. I can easily give my residence to be house number 8 to MTN, 2 to Airtel, 16 to LASRA or maybe house number 3 on another street to NIMC, with none of the agencies making effort to verify my data.
You probably know some of the reasons why Nigeria does not have a unified database. Do share using the comment section below.
Image Credit: Aldous Voice
Techpoint is conducting research on mobile app usage for everyday internet needs in Nigeria. Please take out time to fill in this anonymous survey. Thank you.
Nigerian startups raised $35.5 million in Q3 2018, 52% less than in Q2. Find out more in the Nigerian Startup Funding report. Download.
On the 26th of January, 2019, over 5000 startup founders, investors and other industry stakeholders will convene at Techpoint Build West Africa. Register now to be a part of the movement.