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The Federal Ministry of Communications and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) are working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure that all Nigerians who have Bank Verification Number (BVN) are given the National Identification Number (NIN).

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, who disclosed this when he visited different National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) enrolment centres in Abuja yesterday, observed that NIN was the only mandatory number and the primary identification of Nigerians over as every other identification.

He noted that the NIMC Act 2007 provided that all citizens must be enrolled and that the law gave them 60 days to enrol from the time the law was enacted and a maximum of 180 days, while all permanent residents in the country and legal residents that had to stay in Nigeria for a minimum of 24 months must be enrolled.

The NIN, therefore, is the primary identification for all, he added. At the MTN office in Maitama, the minister said: “We are here to see what has been going on and the improvement that should be made.”

Responding to a capturing officer at the MTN enrolment centre on the need for government to allow telecom operators to update enrolment from their end using costumers’ BVN, Pantami explained that though NIMC produced the template for registering citizens for passport, BVN and others, some institutions did not comply with the requirements; hence the data could not be harmonised without upgrade and integration of the systems.

He said: “Even in biometrics, some will just take four, some two; so you cannot harmonise without upgrading and integrating the systems.

“We discussed with the CBN governor today on how to ensure that all our citizens with BVN will immediately be provided with the NIN. We are working on that, but facilitating the process lies on CBN to make it much easier for our people.”

Pantami stated that he made a presentation to the National Economic Sustainability Committee and drew the attention of the CBN governor that they needed to replace BVN with NIN because “the BVN is a bank policy while NIN is a law.”

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