Nigeria rolls out national digital identification

19 May 2019

Nigeria is implementing a presidential directive requiring harmonisation of all data held in government registries such as driving licences, ID cards and passports. Government officials reported that the body charged with administration of the identification data, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC),  has already registered that 37 million Nigerians. The harmonisation also includes registration of SIM cards where mobile network operators are collecting biometric data of their subscribers for verification.

While many government and private agencies collect personal data, Nigeria does not yet have a privacy law. The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Information, Communication and Technology, Lanre Osibona, announced that plans were underway to enact a data protection framework.

Under the current harmonisation of identification of identification programme, Nigerians whose biometrics have been captured are issued with a National Identification Number (NIN).

Explore the issues

Privacy and data protection are two interrelated Internet governance issues. Data protection is a legal mechanism that ensures privacy. Privacy is usually defined as the right of any citizen to control their own personal information and to decide about it (to disclose information or not). Privacy is a fundamental human right. It is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in many other international and regional human rights conventions. The July 2015 appointment of the first UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age reflects the rising importance of privacy in global digital policy, and the recognition of the need to address privacy rights issues the the global, as well as national levels.

Broadly speaking, digital signatures are linked to the authentication of individuals on the Internet, which affects many aspects, including jurisdiction, cybercrime, and e-commerce. The use of digital signatures should contribute to building trust on the Internet.


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