Again, NIMC Denies Data Breach, Assures Nigerians of Database Security

Emma Okonji and Agnes Ekebuike

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has again denied any form of breach on Nigerian database, insisting that nobody was stealing the country’s data and selling same online.

The Director, IT/IDD, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Lanre Yusuf and the Head, Corporate Communications, NIMC, Kayode Adegoke, spoke yesterday on ARISE NEWS Channels, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, debunking allegations making the rounds on social media that the NIMC database had been breached and hackers were selling Nigerian data online for as cheap as N100.

According to Yusuf data harvesting was a new norm in the identity management ecosystem, stressing that the NIMC only recognises licenced data verification partners that would not allow anybody gain unauthorised access into the database without passing through the different layers of verification exercise.

“As I speak, there is no data breach and no identity slip that emanated from NIMC is currently being sold online as being rumoured on social media. “What the data harvesters are doing is to generate fake NIMC slips and attempt to sell them online to gullible Nigerians. What they are selling is fake identity slip that is different from the original NIMC slip and such slip cannot be used to access the Nigerian database, because it will fail the test.

“NIMC has the technology to protect Nigerian data and I can assure Nigerians that the data centre housing Nigerian data is hosted in Nigeria and it is safe and secured and has never been breached. Only licensed partners can have access to the Nigerian database,” Yusuf said.

Adegoke, who also faulted the alleged breach of Nigerian database, said they were false narratives being rumoured on the social media platforms.

“There were rumours on social media platforms that there was data leak in several government agency’s platforms, including that of NIMC, but as a responsible agency of government, we took it upon ourselves to tell Nigerians that there is no data leak from any government agency handling data registration, data processing and data protection.

“The data of Nigeria is secured and has never been breached. What NIMC is doing is digital identity management, but a lot of Nigerians are still living in the analogue age and they think they can buy NIMC identity slips online.

“That of course is impossible because NIMC has digitised the entire process of NIN registration and verification,” Adegoke said.

He explained that the current Director General of NIMC, Bisoye Coker-Odusote, had promised to revamp and strengthen the entire identification system, backed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is also keen on fortifying the country’s national identity management system.

He said NIMC partnered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) and the Money Deposit Banks (MDBs) on the NIMC’s All Purpose Card, which comes with chips, is secured.   

Yusuf advised Nigerians not to give their data to unauthorised and phishing sites, adding that such could lead to data harvesting and individual data compromise. He, however, said all stored data had been fully encrypted with the highest level of encryption and that NIMC’s data had never been breached.

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