Banwo & Ighodalo Logo

National Identity Management in Nigeria: Matters Arising

As provided in Section 4(1) of the NIN Mandatory Use Regulations, the NIMC is required to ensure strict compliance with the NIN requirement under the NIMC Act, NIN Mandatory Use Regulations and other regulations made pursuant to the NIMC Act, as well as Nigeria Biometrics Standards Regulations, 2017. 

In furtherance of its resolve to emplace a formidable identity management system, the Federal Government of Nigeria (“FGN”), at the Federal Executive Council meeting of September 12, 2018, approved the immediate commencement of the implementation of a strategic roadmap for Digital Identity Ecosystem in Nigeria; necessitating full compliance with the NIN Mandatory Use Regulations.  

In this regard, the NIMC issued a public notice specifying January 1, 2019, as the FGN-approved commencement date for the enforcement of the NIN Mandatory Use Regulations and the consequent application of appropriate sanctions and penalties for non-compliance. Consequently, all registrable persons are required to provide their NIN to be able to carry out the above-listed transactions (and any other transactions that the NIMC may determine by regulation) as from the stated date.

In accordance with the provisions of Sections 6 and 7 of the NIN Mandatory Use Regulations, the NIMC in exercise of its regulatory and enforcement powers, may:

  1. Upon giving written notice of not less than 24 hours, have the right to conduct an audit on the state of affairs and operations of transactions or services carried out by applicable persons and entities;

  2. Obtain an order of the Federal High Court to seal-off the premises or business place or shut down the identity database or stop further services by the defaulting person or entity;

  3. Demand payment of a penalty as provided in the NIMC Act; and

  4. Request the assistance of any law enforcement agency to enforce compliance with any directives issued under the NIN Mandatory Use Regulations.

Furthermore, the NIMC is empowered to impose administrative fines and sanctions, in addition to the penalties provided in the NIMC Act, on any person or entity who fails to comply with the provisions of the NIN Mandatory Use Regulations and other relevant regulations made pursuant to the NIMC Act. 

Testing the Law 

Pursuant to the objectives of the NIMC Act and the NIN Mandatory Use Regulations, the NIMC has commenced collection of the data and biometric information of registrable persons into the National Identity Database. Upon completion of registration, a transaction slip known as the National Identification Number Slip (“NIN Slip”) is first issued to a registered person pending release of the National Identity Card. The NIN Slip serves as evidence of registration and bears the unique NIN of the registered person.