- Nigerian telecoms users have rejected the announcement by the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, for the introduction of digital tokens to replace the NIN
- Telecom subscribers said the plan is too soon as it will throw them into another frenzy after going through hassles to obtain the 11 digit NIN
- The suite of digital tokens being proposed is said to consist of 16 letters and numbers which will strengthen verification processes for users
Telecommunication users under the auspices of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATS) have shot down the move by the Nigerian government of introducing digital suites to replace the National Identity Number (NIN) slips by January 2022.
The digital token is made up of 16 letters and numbers that will be accepted for third-party verification, rather than the 11 digit NIN.
Thecable reports that the plan has generated serious debate and doubts from Nigerians who lamented the hassles they went through to obtain the 11 digit NIN.
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According to a Punch account, the President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers in Nigeria (NATS), Adeolu Ogunbanjo, stated that the move is unwarranted and cannot be carried without proper dialogue.
“Why can’t the FG engage stakeholders before coming up with this plan? It is a serious policy and they didn’t even engage stakeholders. Why can’t we do that? Until they discuss with all relevant stakeholders, and we look at the merits and demerits; they can’t impose this on us.”
According to Ogunbanjo, the order came almost a year after the Federal Government mandated citizens to link their SIMs to their NINs in a short period of time, causing many Nigerians to besiege registration centres.
Why Nigerians reject the plan
Ogubanjo said the new directive is being hurriedly carried especially as Nigerians are yet to recover from last traumatic experience of registering and obtaining their NIN.
“I do not know why the FG is always rushing things on its citizens, remember when they were also going to start the SIM-NIN linkage, it was announced in a hurry too. Why is this government rushing its citizens without proper enlightenment? Nobody knows what this V-NIN is all about, they are coming up with it this month and government want to implement it next month. They must start educating the citizenry first. We are not sure if the Federal Government doesn’t have an agenda with all these things. This is because we now have about five or six different means of national identification.”
Plans already underway
Legit.ng reported that the government of Nigeria says that it would switch the National Identity Number (NIN) for a suite of digital Tokens which will allow Nigerians to have control over their verification processes during official or formal transactions across the country.
Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy said this at a workshop on the National Identification Number (NIN) Tokenisation Solution by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) recently in Abuja.
According to the federal government, the strategy is being carried out in order to ensure privacy and protection of individuals during verification transactions and to reduce redundancies during retrieval, usage, transfer and storage of the NIN.