On December 31, 2020, Nigeria’s ICT minister, Isa Pantami released a statement to reinforce the federal government’s directive to link all registered phone numbers with the National Identification Number (NIN). However, to further ease the process, he notified subscribers of another option to facilitate the process — using the NIMC mobile app.
IMPROVED NIN SLIP AND MOBILE APP LAUNCHED
The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, @DrIsaPantami, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, has approved the development and release of an improved National Identity Number (NIN) slip and a Mobile App. pic.twitter.com/gynPMO8bG8Advertisement
— Fed Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy (@FMoCDENigeria) December 31, 2020
Before now, different telcos have provided means to ease the linking — either through online forms or USSD codes. Meanwhile, the minister also directed that telcos should suspend the charge for NIN verification and retrieval.
However, different concerns about the process still exist as the deadline gets closer. Following this, defaulting phone numbers would be deactivated — projected to be approximately 100 million users as at when the directive was first given on December 16, 2020. Due to reactions and COVID-19 concerns, the deadline was extended to January 19, 2021, from the previous date, December 30, 2020.
It is necessary to note that this process is consequent upon having a centralised database for all mobile subscribers in Nigeria while also emphasising the importance of owning a personal national identification number.
New features on the NIMC Mobile App
Recall, in a previous article, we raised some concerns about data privacy and the legality of the NIMC mobile app. After an official response confirming the government’s involvement, the app was removed from the different app stores it was previously on with a promise to return after an upgrade which would be preceded by a formal release.
True to this, On December 31, 2020, NCC informed that the app has been upgraded and it now includes a module for linking mobile numbers with NIN. On January 3, the NIMC Mobile App returned for download on app stores for both Android and iOS phones.
Following the update, it cannot be guaranteed if previously noticed discrepancies — such as getting another person’s details or encryption error — have been rectified.
However, details on the app show that users can link up to seven devices with Nigerian-registered SIMs to one NIN. But on closer consideration, this negates the initial directive given by the NCC in February 2020 restricting a subscriber from owning more than three mobile numbers.
On data security concern, the app claims to be unsusceptible to cloning or details leak as every user’s NIN is protected through an alpha-numeric user ID displayed on the dashboard.
Subsequently, a function that allows synchronising NIN with Bank Verification Number (BVN), Tax Identification Number (TIN), International passport, and Driver’s License Number would be included. In addition to this, the app can be used to verify another person’s identity, however, this option is only available online and with a subscription.
This NIN-SIM linking process, however laudable, still has a number factors besetting total compliance within the given period of time. We provided answers to some of these concerns in this article.
According to another article, we cannot ignore the fact that a larger percentage of Nigerians haven’t been enrolled during the National ID registration process for the past eight years since it started.
Another concern raised is why some Nigerians cannot verify and retrieve their NIN through the USSD option, thereby having to join the teeming population already overcrowded at enrollment centres.
Besides, many people who have gotten their permanent ID card and no longer in possession of their registration slip containing the NIN are now put at a disadvantage since the physical ID card doesn’t have the NIN on it. A major point of interest, though, is why such important detail is missing on an equally important document.
With many issues left unresolved, January 19 appears to be a short time to achieve the expected mass enrolment and SIM linking.
As such development is coming four months after President Muhammadu Buhari handed over the affairs of the NIMC to the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, it remains to be seen how soon the ministry will achieve a centralised database system for Nigerians. https://zp-pdl.com/online-payday-loans-in-america.php
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