Nigerian government in December 2021 announced the discontinuation of issuance of the aging National Identification Number – NIN slip – and polycarbonate card and replaced it with a suite of digital tokens.
The Digital Token or Virtual NIN tokenization TechEconomy.ng gathered, was designed to replace the 11-digit NIN for every usage.
This will help further to protect an individual’s data privacy via the use of an encrypted, coded representation (“disguised”) version of the NIN rather than actual NIN itself in day-to-day transactions.
User IDs, QR codes and even verification log details on the MWS Mobile ID app are all types of NIN tokenization in that they all hide the NIN of the user.
The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) said that with the download of the NIN app from the Play or Apple Store which provides a digital ID, the card ID is no longer needed.
Prof Isa Pantami, the minister of Communications and Digital Economy, made this known at a stakeholders’ workshop on the NIN Tokenisation Solution organised by the National Identity Management Commission in Abuja.
In this brief interview with TechEconomy.ng, Mr. Chimezie Emewulu, the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Seamfix, gives reasons the company is backing NIMC on the digital token for NIN slip.
Seamﬁx is a people and software development company tailored towards improving the quality of opportunities available to organizations by digitizing their existing manual processes and automating their customer touchpoints for better service delivery to their end customers.
Seamfix provides technology solutions and services that enable businesses across industries and geographies on their path to digital transformation, with focus on Customer Onboarding, Identity Management, Data Collection and Process Automation.
How would Seamfix assess Nigeria’s national identity management system, so far?
Chimezie: The National Identity Management system in Nigeria managed by NIMC has gone a long way from different political dispensations till date.
Most recently under the leadership of Engr. Aliyu A. Aziz, the National Identity Management Commission has embraced innovative technologies from reputable Nigeria Companies to partner with the commission to achieve its mandate of enrolling Nigerians into the National Identity Database, one of such partnerships is with Seamfix Limited, a people and software development company.
Seamfix partnered with NIMC to deliver mobile Android Enrollment software for the commission, before this strategic partnership, NIMC had only the stationary Windows enrollment software which had limitations in the areas of setup cost, mobility and accessibility to Nigerians in both semi-urban and rural areas.
The idea of Android NIN enrollment software provided the much-needed access to digital inclusion to Nigerians worldwide.
Secondly, NIMC through the Frontend enrollment partnership scheme authorized some private organizations to conduct NIN enrollment across multiple locations in Nigeria and Diaspora. This was another groundbreaking initiative under the current leadership of NIMC, these front-end partners armed with the NIMC Android Enrollment Software provided by Seamfix Limited recorded a geometric increase in the number of Nigerians enrolled into the NIDB to the tune of 60million in the space of just 1 year, which is a landmark achievement.
In a bid to maintain continuous improvement, NIMC is constantly reviewing her backend systems responsible for NIN generation and expanding capacity to ensure all Nigerians are digitally included.
With the news that NIN slip is now been replaced with digital token, do you think the country has built a robust system/infrastructure to manage this?
Chimezie: Yes, the infrastructure and systems are there, the good thing about these systems is that they were developed by indigenous companies with a track record of delivering similar projects.
I am very sure that proper planning has been put in place to manage the digital tokens, plans have also been made to scale these systems as adoption increases.
According to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, the government adopted the solution (digital token) to ensure the privacy of personal identifiable information of individuals during verification transactions and to reduce incidences of illegal retrieval, usage, transfer, and storage of NIN, do you think that purpose is achievable especially with the manner national identity system has been managed?
Chimezie: The Idea of digital token is very achievable; data protection and privacy are a burning topic globally, and in ensuring best practices, NIMC is adopting the digital token initiative to ensure citizens’ data is properly protected.
Seamfix is a key player in this space. So, do you think the Government needs to engage more with stakeholders in the identity space as it progresses with the implement digital ID tokenization process?
Chimezie: I believe there’s always room for improvement when it comes to stakeholder engagement but this is something that we have seen an improvement in within the past years using our partnership with NIMC as an example.
The goal is achievable! I expect the commencement to be in phases before a total rollout and deprecation of the existing verification process. I believe lessons have learnt in the first phase of the rollout and corrective measures will be taken as the initiative grows into maturity.
What other views do you want to share about this?
Chimezie: As a nation, we have made a lot of progress in our drive for a digital economy; this drive will most certainly reduce the case of insecurity, corruption, poor governance and encourage accountability.
I want to commend all partners in the NIMC ecosystem for their doggedness and innovative mindset in driving this great turn around in the nation’s digital space. I also commend the leadership of the commission and the minister, for their leadership.