NIBSS Won’t Handover BVN Data to NIMC

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The Nigerian Inter Bank Settlement System will not hand over the bank verification number data to the National Identity Management Commission because it is a private sector-led initiative

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Nov 9, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

THE Nigerian Inter Bank Settlement System, NIBSS, is not going to hand over the data collected during the Bank Verification Number, BVN, registration to the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC. The NIBSS said it will only share data with the commission because theirs is a private sector led initiative.

Ade Shonubi, managing director, NIBSS, said the BVN is a private sector led-initiative and therefore would only share with NIMC the data it needs in issuing the National Identification Number, NIN.

According to him, with the data integration “once the person has a bank account you will automatically have a NIN. “So you don’t need to go to NIMC to get a NIN. But you will need to get to them for the card because they still need to take your current picture and a few other things to put on the card. But we will be able to issue a NIN to everybody who has a bank account because of the integration.”

Stating that the NIBSS has more people who have enrolled on its database than NIMC did, Shonubi said: “We are sharing that with them, we are not handing over to them. We would give them a copy of the data that they need. We will not give them our database. But what we give them will allow them to expand their own enrolment to Nigerians because what we give them will be sufficient for them to issue a PIN.”

Meanwhile, NIBSS have opened up its portal and issued a USSD for the validation of BVN by Bureau De Change, BDC, operators. The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had directed that effective from November 1, 2015, BDC operators must request for BVN of walk in customers before any transaction is consummated.

Although the BDC operators had complained of the shortness in the timeframe of the notice, Oluseyi Ademosun, BVN project coordinator, said this had informed the option of the USSD, a much easier platform to use. He explained that the BDC operators can dial the short code *565*1# on their phones from any part of the world for the validation.

The USSD code when dial will prop up a message asking for the BVN and the date of birth of the BVN holder to confirm the genuineness of the BVN. The BDC operators also have the option of using the NIBSS website portal for the validation. The service costs N20 per enquiry.

This followed reports in the media that NIMC and the CBN were set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the takeover of the BVN by the NIMC. Abdulhamid Umar, general manager, Corporate Communications, NIMC, said it had acquired the capacity to warehouse and manages a database for 200 million people.

President Muhammadu Buhari had directed all ministries, departments and agencies of the federal government to hand over the different databases of Nigerians that they had developed in the course of discharging their mandates to the NIMC, the body mandated by law to manage the identity of Nigerian citizens and residents.

It is expected that with the integration of the several databases, the country will have a central database that security agencies, credit agencies and other important stakeholders can refer to whenever they want to authenticate the identity of any individual.

The federal government had in 2001 awarded a contract worth $214 million to a consortium led by a French firm, Sagem, for the production of identity cards for all Nigerian citizens. The contract was marred in 2003 by allegations that Nigerian officials collected more than $2 million in bribes to influence its award.

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