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Paradigm Initiative urges NIMC to suspend NIN enforcement

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Paradigm Initiative has called for the immediate suspension of the enforcement of National Identification Number (NIN) as announced by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

The NIMC, according to reports, announced the commencement of the full enforcement of NIN on January 1, 2019 by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other bodies requiring the verification of individuals’ identity in the country.

It also announced its empowerment of other government agencies and private companies to collect citizens’ data on its behalf, a situation the digital rights advocacy group finds disturbing.

The initiative’s director of programmes, Tope Ogundipe, stated yesterday: “We have always been concerned about the ability of the commission to ensure the protection of the data in its possession, in a country that has failed to put in place a data protection law. Full enforcement of NIN at this time could lead to denial of crucial services to millions of citizens who are not comfortable with sharing their data with the commission or its agents for good reasons.

“While the harmonisation of records and data might be a good step in the right direction for better accountability and statistical documentation in Nigeria, we consider the whole process premature at this time.

There has to be a strong data protection law before citizens are forced to entrust their data to NIMC or other agencies of government.” The executive director, ‘Gbenga Sesan, added: “Data protection is a core necessity in every society. It is a responsibility of the state and individuals alike to respect the privacy of citizens. Section 37 of the Nigerian Constitution guarantees this unequivocally. There is no way the right to a person’s privacy can truly be respected in the digital age without data protection laws, policies and mechanisms.”


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NIMCTope Ogundipe
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