Nigeria’s Federal Government has announced that it is replacing the National Identity Number (NIN) slip, which is a prerequisite for a lot of legal and formal activities, with digital tokens.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, revealed this at a workshop on the NIN Tokenization Solution organised by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in Abuja.
According to him, the government adopted the solution to ensure the privacy of users’ personal information and to reduce incidences of illegal retrieval, usage, transfer, and storage of NIN.
He was represented by the Director-General of NIMC, Aliyu Abubakar at the workshop. His representative said the implementation of the tokens begins on January 1. “One of the benefits of the virtual NIN is to ensure no third party may carry out any verification, hiding behind a proxy (and without the knowledge of the NIMC, being the Custodian of Identity). And also generated Token or Virtual NIN is unintelligent, completely random with no correlation to the NIN and cannot be reverse engineered, even by a Quantum Computer. The NIN holder is the only exclusive issuer of NIN and cannot be delegated,” he said.
The minister emphasized that the NIN tokens are MDA or merchant-specific and expire after a set period of time, saying that a token generated for company A cannot be utilized by company B.
The Technical Consultant of NIMC, Mr Tunji Durodola, who also spoke at the workshop, said the Digital Token was designed to replace the 11-digit NIN for every usage for everyday usage. He elucidated NIN had been shared and stored by various entities mostly without the knowledge consent or consent of the ID holder or the custodian of identity in Nigeria, NIMC.
Durodola said the improved NIN slip had a smaller form factor and is available to all who have been issued an active NIN, saying they may be purchased without having to visit NIMC office.
It’ll be interesting to see how the digital tokens are implemented. The country still has a lot to do with getting people to get their NINs.