The Nigerian government says the country’s National Identification Number (NIN) is the primary and legal identity of citizens and will replace the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) which is not established by law.
Isa Pantami, the Nigerian minister of communications and digital economy stated this on Monday and said the NIN should be included in the bank accounts of Nigerians.
The BVN was launched in 2014 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to act as a unique identifier to improve the security and efficiency of the country’s payment system.
”The challenge is that the BVN records may not be 100 percent the same with NIN but what is most important is that the NIN is the primary identity of each and every citizen, including legal residents,” the minister said.
“BVN is a policy of a bank and has not been established by law, NIN is the only mandatory number and the primary identification of our citizens and every other identification is secondary.
“The NIMC Act 2007 provides that all our citizens must be enrolled and the law gives them 60 days to enroll from the time the law was enacted and a maximum of 180 days and all permanent residents in the country and legal residents that have to stay here for a minimum of 24 months must be enrolled.
“So this is the primary identification of all and all other data bases are supposed to utilize this and not for NIN to utilize the BVN because it is the primary one.
“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.
“I made a presentation to National Economic Sustainability Committee and I drew the attention of CBN governor that we need to replace BVN with NIN because the BVN is a bank policy while NIN is a law.”
By Abel Ejikeme