By Temi Joshua
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has proposed to the Federal Government to replace the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) with the National Identity Numbers (NIN).
He made this known to the public while speaking with newsmen shortly after a tour of telecoms operators and NIN licensees in Abuja today February 8.
“The challenge is that the BVN records may not be 100 percent the same with NIN but what is most important is that the NIN is the primary identity of each and every citizen, including legal residents.
BVN is a policy of a bank and has not been established by law, NIN is the only mandatory number and the primary identification of our citizens and every other identification is secondary.
“The NIMC Act 2007 provides that all our citizens must be enrolled and the law gives them 60 days to enroll from the time the law was enacted and a maximum of 180 days and all permanent residents in the country and legal residents that have to stay here for a minimum of 24 months must be enrolled.
“So this is the primary identification of all and all other data bases are supposed to utilize this and not for NIN to utilize the BVN because it is the primary one.
“We discussed with the CBN Governor today on how to ensure that all our citizens with BVN will immediately be provided with the NIN. We are working on that but facilitating the process lies on CBN to make it much easier for our people.”
Speaking on Federal Government’s position on replacement of BVN with NIN, Pantami said, “I made a presentation to National Economic Sustainability Committee and I drew the attention of CBN Governor that we need to replace BVN with NIN because the BVN is a bank policy while NIN is a law.
“Because it has been established by law so the strength of the law wherever you go is not the same with a policy of one institution.
“Also, BVN is only applicable to those who have bank accounts but NIN is for every citizen and legal residents in the country. BVN is our secondary database while NIN and the database is the primary one in the country that each and every institution should make reference to NIMC.”