Nigeria to Replace National Identity Slips with Digital Tokens

In a bid to ensure data protection of users during verification transactions and to reduce redundancies during retrieval, usage, transfer, and storage of NIN, the Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the introduction of a suite of digital Tokens that will replace the aging NIN slip and polycarbonate card.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, represented by the Director-General of NIMC, Aliyu Abubakar, made this announcement at the stakeholders’ workshop on the National Identification Number (NIN) Tokenization Solution organised by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in Abuja.

Hear from the Federal Government

The FG has indicated that this tokenisation solution, which has been customised to protect personal identifiable information and to protect the sanctity as well as the sensitivity of the NIN issued by NIMC to registered individuals will take full effect on 1st January 2022.

“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,” Pantami said.

According to the minister, anonymization was also catered for with the attachment of the User ID of the verifier to every verification request, adding, no NIN, no verification.

We must sustain the momentum by creating continuous awareness programs and sensitizing the public.

Technical Consultant of NIMC, Mr. Tunji Durodola said the Digital Token was designed to replace the 11-digit NIN for everyday usage, adding 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 NIMC office. According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the Tokenization consists of 16 alphanumeric characters, starting and ending with two letters of the Alphabet.

Some of the pre-requisites of tokenization are, one needs a NIN issued by NIMC, the mobile number registered in Nigeria and linked to your NIN,” Mr. Durodola said.

This innovation is a laudable development, which might incentivize more Nigerians to register and obtain a national identity number, as this appears to be an improved and more secured medium of transacting with the NIN.

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