Progress is being made in the ongoing biometric digital identity project in Nigeria. Despite some challenges, the project is advancing as officials hope they can meet a projected 2022 deadline of providing a digital identity, known as National Identification Numbers (NINs), to at least 100 million Nigerians. As NINs are currently being issued, mobile telephone users are expected to integrate them into their SIM cards before the April 6 federal government deadline.
One aspect of this transition may have a direct impact on Nigerian bank accounts.
Federal government authorities in Nigeria, along with several stakeholders, are exploring how biometrics-backed Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) can be integrated with, and replaced by, NINs. The BVN is a bank policy, whereas the NIN is mandatory and provided for by law.
Nigeria’s Communications and Digital Economy Minister, Dr. Isa Pantami, reports that biometric data is not consistently captured during NIN registration processes carried out at enrolment centers, with the number of fingerprints collected sometimes varying. This inconsistency makes it difficult to integrate the various systems.