The Federal Government may replace the Bank Verification Number with the National Identity Number, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami has said.
Pantami disclosed this on Monday in a chat with journalists after a tour of telecoms operators and NIN licensees in Abuja.
The Minister visited the National Identity Management Commission registration Centre in Gwarinpa, Glo and Airtel in Maitama, alongside the Zonal Headquarters of MTN and other Private operators.
Pantami said after the visit that the ministry has briefed the National Economic Sustainability Committee on the need to replace the BVN with NIN.
Pantami agued that BVN is basically for bank account holders, while the NIN links all data connected to every Nigerian.
The Minister insisted that NIN was the only mandatory number established by law for all Nigerians.
He said, “The challenge is that the BVN records may not be 100 per cent 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.”