Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has grappled for years to own a central foundational database from which her increasing population can be uniquely identified and be managed appropriately. The absence of this has affected nationwide inclusion as some citizens are locked out of necessary amenities like health, banking and education because they do not have ‘a verified proof of identity. This has also created a divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ and further widened the status gap.
As a response to this growing concern and necessity, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) — a statutory Nigerian organization with the mandate to establish, own, operate, maintain and manage the National Identity Database — came up with a solution in form of a unique identifier to be used for all transactions in Nigeria requiring identity verification. This unique digital identifier will serve as the nation’s central foundational database harmonizing citizen data with various agencies across Nigeria.
This unique digital identifier is called NIN.
National Identification Number (NIN) is a set of unique numbers assigned to an individual after a successful enrolment process, to serve as an identifier for life. This enrolment process involves capturing data such as an individual’s demographic, biometric such as the ten (10) fingerprints, pictorial data such as head-to-shoulder facial pictures, and a digital signature also known as e-signature.
The captured data will go through a second-level validation — cross-checking existing data in the National Identity Database — to ensure there are no duplicates. Once all these have been concluded, the data is then stored and NIN will be assigned to the individual.
NIN, as a single source of truth for unique identification, comes with numerous benefits that go beyond identifying citizens. It also offers the government, companies and corporate entities access to widespread digital identity for the purpose of cubbing criminal and insecurity issues across the country. In that sense, the government is provided with necessary data and the ability to identify citizens on the spot so that they (citizens) can have access to various amenities. There is also the added benefit to the government to toughen up identity security nationwide.
A case in point for NIN as a ‘security and compliance check’ was the mandate by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) that all mobile telecom subscribers link their NIN to their SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) cards. This, once achieved, will offer Nigerians a truly centralized database sitting pretty on NIDB — a database that holds details of every citizen of the nation; one that can serve as an access card or proof of authentication whenever; one that can be recalled as a source of truth in situations where a person’s identity needs to be validated.
NIMC, as mandated by the law, has created an enabling environment for the enrollment of Nigerians and legal residents into the national database with the provision of standards and business rules in line with global best practices for identity management through partnerships with reputable companies like Seamfix to provide the required technology for data enrollment.
As a renowned name in the data collection and identity management space, Seamfix earned the title of the technology company that will power this NIN enrollment project nationwide. We leverage our experience and on our existing platform base that has driven full-on data collection and validation projects across the board, and stepped in with a custom-made Android platform for NIMC to simplify this NIN enrolment process and ensure success on all fronts.
The platform has the capability to securely acquire sensitive demographic and biometric data for the generation of NIN. The platform enforces quality checks with preset compliance rules that ensure that all data meet the highest standard of quality required to capture biometric data. It goes further to match data against existing data in the national database to confirm uniqueness before NIN is issued.
As a mobile-enabled platform, this solution offers flexibility to capture data anywhere, anytime and offers a streamlined onboarding process ensuring that everything from capture to validation can be done in one sitting. Months down the line, the Seamfix android enrolment platform has captured over 1,644,732 valid identities, digitally; eliminating the need for paper forms, physical storage spaces, and multiple touchpoints. And we made sure that no one is left out, by extending limitless NIN enrolment to Nigerians living in the diaspora (in the UK).
This digital approach to NIN enrolment has improved the capture process in terms of speed and efficiency of personnel. Captured data is immediately synced to the backend without the need for human interference which keeps the regulatory body within the purview of the privacy laws. This approach also ensures a clean data output, which means that there is little to no chance of erroneous NIN assignment.
Nigeria is on the fast track of digital transformation, joining the rest of the world on the journey to digital everything and Seamfix is glad to serve as an enabler for this.