Nigeria’s ICT minister, Isa Pantami on December 31st 2020 issued a statement to reinforce the federal government’s directive to link all registered phone numbers with the National Identification Number (NIN). Via this statement, he announces a newly provided option to facilitate the process — using the NIMC mobile app.
Leading up to this point, telcos in Nigeria had initiated online channels or USSD codes to ease the linking process. However, subsequent to providing this new option, the minister directed telcos to suspend the charge for NIN verification and retrieval.
The aim of this process is to have a centralised database for all mobile subscribers in Nigeria, while also ensuring that a greater population of Nigerians own a personal national identification number as citizens of the country.
New features on the NIMC Mobile App
Recall that the NIMC app had been formerly removed from the different app stores it was previously on with a promise to return after it had been upgraded, in response to widely-raised data-privacy concerns.
Subsequently, On December 31, 2020, the Nigeria Communications Commission announced that the app has been upgraded to now include a module for linking mobile numbers with NIN. And, on January 3, the NIMC Mobile App returned for download on app stores for both Android and Apple devices.
While it is yet to be confirmed whether previous issues — such as getting another person’s details or encryption error — have been fixed, details on the app show that users can link up to seven devices with Nigerian-registered SIMs to one NIN. Considering this more closely however, this seems to negate the NCC directive that restricts each subscriber from owning more than three mobile numbers.
As per data security concerns, 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.
Most notably however, a function that allows synchronising NIN with Bank Verification Number (BVN), Tax Identification Number (TIN), International passport, and Driver’s License Number has been included. The app can also be used to verify another person’s identity.