The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has disclosed reasons behind the Federal Government’s decision to replace BVN and other national database systems with NIN. Pantamfurther disclosed that the Federal Government has begun the process of replacing the database systems with the National Identity Number. Aside from BVN, other key data systems in Nigeria include the Drivers License, issued by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Tax Identification Number (TIN) and the International Passport Number. Professional licenses like medical practice license, pharmacology, nursing license, teachers’ registration license and engineering license, among others are also included here.
The minister, whose office is leading the initiative, said the key reason for the migration of all databases to NIN is the fact that NIN is backed by law. He also said there is the need to replace BVN with NIN because the BVN is a bank policy, while NIN is a law, adding that because NIN has been established by law, the strength of the law everywhere is higher than a policy made by an institution. According to Pantam, the BVN was a policy directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that all customers of commercial banks must be identified through a verifiable number system. He said: “Just like BVN and other data systems, there are limitations: you must be eligible to be captured in one or all these databases, but the NIN is not so, as long as you are a Nigerian or living in Nigeria.
He further disclosed that another reason for prioritizing NIMC is due to the insecurity issues in Nigeria. The minister said, with NIMC’s database, the level of security is 99.9 percent which is further guaranteed by the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation to guarantee safety of all data collected in the country. He said: “Currently, NIN has been harmonized with the BVN of customers by most of the banks, the process is still on to integrate SIM cards with NIN by the telecommunication companies.The NIN has been integrated as a central identity number in new international passports.” The FRSC also rolled out its enforcement of NIN first before drivers license, meaning you cannot get a new license and renew one if you do not have NIN