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NIMC to upgrade software as NIN hits 107 million

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has said that 107.33 million Nigerians have been enrolled into the National Identification Number (NIN) database as of May 2023.

This is an increase of 3.18 million from the 104.16 million recorded as of December 31, 2023.

The increase is likely triggered by an announcement by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that all bank accounts without BVN or NIN would be frozen from April 2024.

In a circular by the apex bank in December 2023, it instructed banks to place a “Post no Debit” restriction – which prevents customers from making withdrawals, transfers, or any other debits “for all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN”.

‘Post No Debit’ is a term used to describe a restriction imposed by banks on specific accounts, preventing customers from making withdrawals, transfers, or any other debits from such accounts.

The Director-General of NIMC, Abisoye Coker-Odusote, noted that the capacity of the current database is almost exhausted and efforts are ongoing to expand the database to cover 250 million unique NINs for adults.

She said: “We have started to work on upgrading the capacity across all boards from the network infrastructure perspective to software licensing areas. We are working on that to increase the capacity that we have. We are trying to ensure that we increase it from 100 million to 250 million.”

On how long the upgrade may take, she noted: “That process will take us a minimum of six to nine months. So, it is a lot of work that needs to be done but we have commenced that process.”

She further lamented that a lot of the commission’s equipment is outdated and needs to be replaced and upgraded.

When asked about the current capacity of the database, she further clarified that although the number of NINs recorded exceeded 100 million, which is the capacity of the database, some of the data are for children, not adults, and certain data like fingerprints are not collected from children.

Stressing the need for upgrading the database, she said: “We are approaching the end of our capacity.”

The director of the database who spoke with Nairametrics briefly after the media parley also clarified that the 100 million capacity is based on licensing available for each NIN.

He stressed that the licensing is not required for data collected from children. This is why the database is yet to reach its 100% capacity.

The NIMC DG also disclosed that the commission is currently reviewing the fees it offers for its services, stressing that getting NIN is free.

Coker-Odusote also noted that the NIMC fees have not been increased in a long time but assured that the increase will be moderate.

She also said that the newly launched multipurpose identity card is not free.

The NIMC boss also said that the NIMC is partnering with ministries like the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure more onboarding. She noted that some government agencies have been made front-end partners to help more Nigerians get their NIN.

Coker-Odusote also noted that some front-end partners have been found wanting for how they handled the NIN registration process, noting that investigations are ongoing on that.

She added that she met a debt of almost N30 billion, and this is among the issues that the commission under her is working to resolve.

Although NIMC said it would clear outstanding debts to front-end partners in the first quarter of 2024, the commission’s DG noted some of the partners are being engaged in a discussion to settle fines for infractions before the debts will be paid.

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