The Federal Government has introduced a suite of digital tokens to replace the aging National Identification Number slip and polycarbonate card.
It explained that the digital tokens were 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.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said that the tokenisation solution was customised to protect personal identifiable information and to protect the sanctity as well as sensitivity of the NIN issued by National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to registered individuals.
Pantami disclosed this at stakeholders workshop on the NIN Tokenization Solution organised by National Identity Management Commission in Abuja. The Minister who was represented by the NIMC Director-General, Aliyu Abubakar, said that the full implementation begins on January 1, 2022.
According to him, 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,” the minister said.
He said that anonymity was also catered for with the attachment of the UserID of the verifier to every verification request, adding that no NIN, no verification.
Abubakar said that the aim of the programme was to rub minds with stakeholders to ensure understanding of the product and buy-in by all.
“We must continue to reinforce the need for every Nigerian to have a digital identity, irrespective of social class or economic status, improve access to all and ensure continuous protection of privacy and data of our citizens and other enrollees. We must sustain the momentum by creating continuous awareness programs and sensitizing of the public.
Also speaking, the Technical Consultant of NIMC, Tunji Durodola, said the Digital Token was designed to replace the 11-digit NIN for every usage for everyday usage.
He said 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 that 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 the NIMC office.
“Some of the pre-requisite of tokenization, one needs a NIN issued by NIMC, and a mobile number registered in Nigeria and linked to your NIN,” he said.